Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, said Wednesday a House Republican measure that could threaten civilian defense jobs in other parts of the state won’t impact Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
“None of the agencies impacted” are headquartered at the state’s largest single-site employer, Turner said.
Central Ohio civic and business leaders urged Ohio members of Congress Wednesday to kill the measure, a proposed amendment that, if passed by the House and Senate, would be included in next year’s defense bill.
The amendment calls for a 25 percent cut in the number of agencies that largely employ civilian workers.
Opponents say the measure could impact the 6,000 jobs at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service and Defense Logistics Agency in Whitehall as well as another 2,000 jobs in Cleveland.
“These defense jobs in Central Ohio are really important and we want to do everything we can to make sure they are growing, not shrinking,” said Alex Fischer, president and chief executive officer of the Columbus Partnership.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, wants to include the reduction in the 2019 defense authorization bill. It takes dead aim at what is known as the Fourth Estate, a nickname for agencies that deal with defense administrative issues.
Thornberry has argued the measure would save $25 billion a year, which could be plowed into actual military spending.
In a conference call today with Ohio reporters, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said he doubted such a measure could pass the Senate. He said Thornberry “takes an ax to show he can cut defense spending when there are better ways to do that than these across-the-board cuts,” adding “it’s not very well thought out.”
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said the defense agencies “in Columbus and Cleveland play very important roles supporting our men and women in uniform, including making sure they get paid, have the repair parts they need for their equipment, and have the information technology systems needed for mission success. These aren’t functions we can get rid of.”
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