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December 17th, 2012
 

Latham Blasts Agreement that Advances White House Plan to Retire Iowa Air National Guard’s F-16s

Washington, D.C. — Iowa Congressman Tom Latham today blasted U.S. House and Senate Defense reauthorization negotiators for dropping a provision that would have temporarily blocked the White House’s planned retirement of the Iowa Air National Guard’s 132nd Fighter Wing F-16s. The provision, which was passed earlier in the year by both the House and Senate chambers, was reportedly dropped by negotiators who have been crafting a final version of the legislation which authorizes all defense spending for the new fiscal year.

“The negotiators have defied the will of House and Senate members who voted for the need to review the full national security implications and proper cost-benefit analysis of this agreement. I oppose this plan that in essence complies with the White House’s proposal to retire the F-16s of the 132nd Fighter Wing, and I will vote against this legislation when it is considered by the House.”

Congressman Latham originally worked with his colleagues in the House to include language in appropriations and reauthorization bills to freeze the proposed retirement of all Air Force aircraft until the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office could review a cost-benefit analysis. The U.S. Senate approved the same language in their versions of the bills. The language was supported by Latham to block an Air Force plan to retire the Des Moines-based F-16s.

“The 132nd Fighter Wing has been an exemplary unit of the U.S. Air Force,” Congressman Latham said. “I do not believe that the Air Force’s recommendation to close this fighter wing was based on thorough cost-benefit analysis, and I will continue working to ensure that defense spending decisions are based on solid data and strengthening our national security.”

Latham pledged to continue the fight to protect the 132nd’s current mission and block the White House plan to retire the F-16 mission through every tool available to him. This includes introducing standalone legislation in the coming days that mirrors the language previously approved by the House and Senate.

BACKGROUND

The White House has proposed an Air Force-recommended reduction of hundreds of Iowa Air Guard positions due to recent recommendations to retire 21 F-16s in the Des Moines-based 132nd Fighter Wing as part of cost-saving measures. Congressman Latham has spoken out repeatedly against the proposed Iowa Air Guard cuts, and has met with National Guard officials and Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley in an effort to find a better way forward. Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee in April, Congressman Latham criticized the proposal because of the absence of a cost-benefit analysis and the irreversible elimination of the considerable experience amassed by the decorated fighter wing.

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of TheIowaRepublican.com, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and TheIowaRepublican.com as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, TheIowaRepublcian.com. Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.




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