- October 23 - Senate Armed Services Committee Members have cut a compromise deal calling for the lease of no more than 20 Boeing tanker aircraft, rejecting an earlier over-priced proposal by the Air Force to lease 100 tankers, Committee Chairman Senator John Warner and Ranking Member Senator Carl Levin announced today.
The compromise will allow the Air Force to purchase another 80 aircraft using the traditional procurement process. In all, the lease-purchase deal is estimated to cost $16.9 billion, a savings to the taxpayers of more than $4 billion over the earlier proposal to lease all 100 aircraft. However, the deal also would award Boeing Company, the contractor that will build the 767 tanker aircraft, a non-bid $6 billion-plus maintenance and training contract.
This is a clear victory for the taxpayers a case of common sense prevailing over back-room politics, said POGO Senior Defense Investigator Eric Miller. Its also an inspiring example of how one determined member of Congress, in this case Senator John McCain, can take on both the Pentagon and a powerful defense contractor and win by arguing the facts.
Senators Warner and Levin also deserve credit for looking out for the taxpayers and moving this compromise forward.
POGO investigates, exposes, and seeks to remedy systemic abuses of power, mismanagement, and subservience by the federal government to powerful special interests. Founded in 1981, POGO is a politically-independent, nonprofit watchdog that strives to promote a government that is accountable to the citizenry.