IA-01, IA-02: Braley and Loebsack vow to fight for Rock Island Arsenal

Yesterday U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta revealed some proposed cuts to the military budget, part of a plan to save $487 billion over the next decade. Click here or here for details on the reductions, which will slow the rate of growth in defense spending but are far from the "massive cuts" opponents decry.

Representatives Bruce Braley (IA-01) and Dave Loebsack (IA-02) responded to yesterday's news by promising to fight for defense-related jobs at the Rock Island Arsenal, a major employer in the Quad Cities area.

Braley has represented the Iowa side of the Quad Cities since 2007, but the redistricting plan adopted last year put Scott County in the new second Congressional district, where Loebsack is seeking re-election to a fourth term. Loebsack has made the Rock Island Arsenal a focus of his work on the House Armed Services Committee in recent months. This week he said he would ask President Barack Obama to visit the arsenal "to see first-hand the exceptional work being done there."

I enclose below a joint press release from Braley, Loebsack, and Bobby Schilling, a first-term Republican who represents the Illinois side of the Quad Cities. Expect to hear a lot more along these lines when Congress debates the defense budget later this year.

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread.


Date: Thursday January 26, 2012

Schilling, Braley, and Loebsack Voice Strong Support for the QC Region

Promote the Strength of the Rock Island Arsenal and the Area's Defense Manufacturing Capabilities

Moline, Illinois -  Congressmen Bobby Schilling (IL-17), {{Bruce Braley}} (IA-01) and {{Dave Loebsack}} (IA-02) joined together to voice their support for the Rock Island Arsenal and the Quad Cities' defense manufacturing capabilities following Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's announcement regarding efforts by the Department of Defense (DOD) to achieve cuts included in America's new defense strategy.   The Congressmen are part of the bi-state, bipartisan delegation that represents the Rock Island Arsenal, and have led the charge to grow workload and jobs at the Rock Island Arsenal.  

Said Schilling:  "Last year, we were successful in paving the way for more public-private partnerships at the Rock Island Arsenal that will help increase workload, keep skills sharp, and promote job growth.  That doesn't mean that our work to preserve and strengthen the Arsenal as a national treasure and economic engine is done.  While wasteful spending can certainly be found throughout government agencies, it is important that we maintain a well-balanced military with ample resources to defend ourselves against uncertainty in today's volatile world.  The hard-working folks at the Arsenal have repeatedly proven their worth to our warfighter and our national security.  I am hopeful we can work together for  the good of the Arsenal and defense manufacturing throughout our region."

Said Braley:  "The Arsenal is a critical economic engine in the Quad Cities and a vital part of our national defense.  History has shown, time and again, the workers at the Arsenal have stepped up to produce the things our troops need when no one else has been able to.  I saw this first-hand during my trips to Iraq and Afghanistan, where I saw Arsenal employees answering the call in dangerous parts of the world to help make America stronger and safer. I'm committed to working with my colleagues across the river and across the aisle to support the Arsenal."

Said Loebsack: "Rock Island Arsenal is central to the region's economy, our national security, and protecting our troops.  I will fight together with the bipartisan congressional delegation day and night against any proposal to reduce work or negatively affect the Arsenal and its highly dedicated workforce.  We must cut spending and reduce the unsustainable, long term debt, but the Arsenal is not the place to do it. The bipartisan congressional delegation successfully worked to strengthen the Arsenal through public private partnerships, and I will continue to work with the delegation to strengthen the Arsenal going forward."

Secretary Panetta today announced details of the Pentagon's Fiscal Year 2013 budget, the first budget that will begin addressing the $487 billion cut to defense spending over the next decade.  The 2013 budget highlighted today does not reflect potential triggered 'sequestration' cuts, which would add an additional $500 billion cut starting in January 2013.  The Secretary's announcement included mention of programs vital to the Quad Cities, including industrial base skills.  Per the DOD's Defense Priorities and Choices, the planned budget states that it will "sustain, where possible, these segments of the industrial base."  It takes into account the "key skills in the design and manufacture of military systems that cannot be duplicated elsewhere in the economy or regenerated quickly."

  • These guys are great guys

    But why fight for funding for a weapons manufacturer?  They are certainly not war hawks, so what do they think we are going to do with all the weapons that are going to be made at this arsenal should it be kept open?

    Yes, yes, yes, I know it's all about jobs, and any job right now will do, but why limit one's thinking so much?

    Wouldn't it make so much more sense to fight for good manufacturing jobs in the clean energy industry? Is it really that much of a stretch to convert the grounds and buildings to making the hundreds of products needed for clean energy growth?

    Wouldn't that make much more sense?

    And then the US wouldn't even have to invade Iran for it's oil!  What a concept!

    • Loebsack doesn't act like a dove

      I know he has that reputation in some circles, but he's been on the Armed Services Committee for a long time now, and he emphasizes stuff like this regularly. Don't hear much from him about reducing the defense budget, that's for sure.

      Braley at least raised questions about our involvement in Libya, has called for us to withdraw from Afghanistan more quickly, and voted against the defense authorization bill.

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