A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators held a news conference Thursday with the goal of convincing the Department of Defense and the Obama Administration to award the upcoming tanker contract to Boeing.
“Job creation in the United States should start with the procurement of a Boeing tanker,” said Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS). “Awarding this contract to Boeing will create an estimated 7,500 jobs and represents an annual $388 million economic impact to Kansas. Boeing’s proposal is based on a proven platform founded on the expertise of Kansas workers. It is time to award this contract and put folks to work.”
Roberts was joined by fellow Kansas Senator Jerry Moran and three Democrats, one from Michigan and two from Washington state. Both states would benefit if Boeing wins the long-awaited, long delayed contract over competitor EADS.
“A win for the Boeing tanker and America’s aerospace workers would be a big step forward in our efforts to ‘win the future” said Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). “American jobs, our industrial base, and economic growth is on the line in all of our states with this critical contract. I know that the aerospace workers in my state are hungry for this contract, can start producing these tankers tomorrow, and will deliver for our men and women in uniform.”
The Department of Defense is expected to make a final decision in the next few weeks.
Last Friday, Boeing and rival EADS submitted final proposals to build the aircraft. The initial contract for 179 planes is believed to be worth at least $35-40 billion.
Boeing says a win would mean 50,000 jobs nationwide, including several thousand in Kansas. Boeing's proposal is a modified 767 tanker.
EADS, the parent company of Airbus, would build its tanker in Mobile, Alabma. EADS promises to create 48,000 American jobs. It's entry is a modified A330.
It's taken more than a decade just to award the contract to replace the approx. 600 Eisenhower-era planes. Boeing won the contract originally, but the contract was thrown out in an ethics scandal. EADS won the next bid in 2008, but Boeing challenged it and force another competition.
“Our skilled Kansas work force is ready to support our men and women in uniform with the best tanker,” said Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS). “The Pentagon should consider all the facts in this competition, including billions in illegal subsidies. With a national unemployment rate of 9%, the Pentagon should not be working against American manufacturing and its workers. Given a fair competition, I am confident the Air Force will ultimately make the right decision for America’s warfighters, workers, and taxpayers.