|From:||Aimee Houghton <email@example.com>|
|Date:||Fri, 14 May 1999 11:02:27 -0700 (PDT)|
|Subject:||Senate Votes Against 2001 BRAC|
[This article appeared in the front section (page A8) of today's Washington Post. --Aimee Houghton] Washington Post Friday, May 14, 1999 Senat Panel Votes Against New Round of Military Base Closings By: Bradley Graham "A Senate panel rejected appeals by the Pentagon's civilian and military leaders for more base closures, voting 11 to 9 yesterday to defeat a proposal that would have authorized a new round of closings in 2001. "The action by the Senate Armed Services Committee marked the third year that the Pentagon's bid for more shutdowns has failed. It represents a particular setback for Defense Secretary William S. Cohen, a former Republican senator from Maine who had invested considerable effort in attempting to persuade his onetime colleagues on Capitol Hill to shed additional facilities in order to help finance new weapons. "But strong opposition to more closures from Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) appeared to doom the proposal. Most of the committee's Republicans--except for John McCain of Arizona and Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania--voted against it in marking up the 2000 defense authorization bill. Joining the opposition were two Democrats--Max Cleland of Georgia and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico. "Because of sentiment against base closures is even stronger in the House, Pentagon officials figured they stood their best chance of success in the Senate. Although the matter still may come up for floor debate, the committee's action effectively squashes it for another year. "Cohen had hoped lawmakers wold agree to revive the independent base closure commission that worked well during four rounds between 1988 and 1995, selecting nearly 100 large military facilities for elimination and generally shielding the process from political interference. He and the military chiefs argued that the number of closures has not kept pace with the reduction of U.S. military forces sonce the Cold War and that more shutdowns are needed to fund a planned surge in procurement spending following a decade-long slump in equipment purchases. "Pentagon officials have warned that continued congressional refusal to close military bases would compel the military branches to drop weapons programs or further reduce troop strength to compensate for unrealized savings. But lawmakers, naturally reluctant to accept the pain of more closings in their districts, have questioned the Pentagon's savings estimates. "In committee debate, some senators charged the Pentagon had neglected to make an adequate assessment of future base needs, sources said. Others complained that repeated base closure rounds were taking a toll on all communities with military facilities, compelling each to hire teams of people to justify keeping a base. "Adding to the Pentagon's uphill struggle has been a large residue of congressional resentment over President Clinton's attempt during the last closure round in 1995 to enlist provate contractors to save jobs at two Air Force maintenance centers in vote-rich California and Texas." <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> Aimée R. Houghton, Associate Director Center for Public Environmental Oversight (CPEO) 425 Market Street, 2nd Floor San Francisco, CA 94105 tel: 415-904-7750; FAX: 415-904-7765 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.cpeo.org <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
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