23 July 2005


Rule Number One of a political campaign -- never promise what you can't deliver. Rule Number Two, a freshman Senator from South Dakota can't save a base from closure. The White House threatens Defense Bill veto if a proposed amendment is added.
The Bush administration is threatening to veto a sweeping defense bill if lawmakers try to delay the latest round of military base closures to spare installations back home.

In a statement, the administration said it would "strongly oppose any amendment to weaken, delay or repeal" the base-closing process and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld would recommend that the president veto any bill that includes such a provision.

Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, who is trying to save Ellsworth Air Force Base, late Thursday proposed an amendment to the defense bill that would require the Pentagon to complete several operational reviews and return U.S. troops from Iraq before Congress signs off on the final version of the base-closing plan.
For those of you that didn't know, Thune's entire campaign platform was based on his ability to save EAFB from the BRAC axe. I like Thune and I certainly would have voted for him, but this just doesn't fly.
Thune's amendment has the support of Republicans and Democrats from Maine, Connecticut, New Jersey and New Mexico.
These Senators would be...Lieberman, Dodd, Snowe, Collins, Bingaman, Corzine and Lautenberg?
The Senate debated the bill Friday but may not complete work on it until September.

It's unclear whether Senate leaders and top members of the Senate Armed Services Committee who oppose the provision - GOP Senators John Warner of Virginia and John McCain of Arizona and Democratic Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan - have the votes to defeat it.

Base closings "should not occur while this country is engaged in a major war," said Thune.
"Base closings should not occur when my political a%$ is on the line," I imagine Thune was thinking.
Warner said the provision will "hold in limbo" the entire base-closing process. "You'd put a cloud of indecision and doubt over all the communities that will be affected," Warner said.
The closure of a major base can certainly devastating to a community, or to an entire state for that matter. Where I live, we have suffered more than anyone -- McClellan AFB, Mather AFB, Alameda NAS, the San Francisco Presidio and the list goes on and on. It happens, communities adapt, move out and draw fire. South Dakota will have to as well.

Thanks to Greyhawk for his Open Post.

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