WASHINGTON – A new $ 1 trillion COVID-19 response package aims to give Senate republics more weapons to fight the soaring coronavirus pandemic. However, GOP lawmakers are not just referring to an “invisible enemy.”
The Republican measure includes billions of F-35 fighters, Apache helicopters and infantry carriers sought by a strong defense lobby in Washington. In total, the proposal proposes $ 8 billion in Pentagon weapons systems built by defense vendors such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics – corporate titans at the forefront of the industry affecting Washington.
A bill drafted by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Would put $ 2.2 billion into Pentagon shipbuilders̵7; accounts, strengthen missile defense systems in California and Alaska, and deliver about $ 1.4 billion to C-130 transport aircraft and F-35 fighters. manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp. Some of the F-35s could have been delivered to the Air National Guard in Montgomery, Alabama.
In several cases, Shelby is proposing to renew the cuts imposed by the administration, which has diverted nearly $ 4 billion to help pay for the construction of President Donald Trump’s border wall. The Pentagon received a significant increase in defense last year with the adoption of a budget agreement that erased automatic spending cuts known as sequestration.
The $ 8 billion arms procurement package is part of the $ 1 trillion in GOP coronavirus defense released Monday. Assuming the money will now help build into the annual defense financing bill that Congress plans to write later this year.
The prospects for Shelby’s proposed defense projects could be dim. Democrats beat supplements, and Republican Senator leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Tuesday that the final package should not break out of the coronavirus response.
The weapons bazaar frightened the Democrats, whose votes will have to pass the law within large divisions during the GOP conference on the measure. These are urgent matters, such as food aid and the financing of voting by post.
“We will not support anything that does not acknowledge the incredible difficulties people face when eating,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.
“Have you seen the conditions that affect? Maine. Arizona. Kentucky – we have a list, “said Chuck Schumer, head of the Minority Senate, DN.Y., naming the states in which Republicans are defending seats in the fall election.
The administration has never officially applied for defense funding. Instead, he made informal requests to executive lawmakers such as Shelby, who sit at the top of the defense funding panel. Even those informal requests left out $ 8 billion for things like planes, ships, and missile defense systems, although the White House has grown some of those items.
The arms package has grown by $ 1.1 billion to build Boeing Poseidon tracking nozzles built in Washington and Kansas, and another $ 283 million for Army Apache helicopters manufactured in Mesa, Arizona.
Endangered GOP Senator Martha McSally of Arizona is developing a $ 650 million project to replace the wings of A-10 Thunderbolt ground support aircraft, many of which are based at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson. According to an analysis by Democratic collaborators who demand anonymity to share internal working documents, there is $ 49 million for Navy sonobuoys, listening devices that can detect submarines that are likely to be manufactured in Florida.
“Defense industrial base – much of it has now been eroded.” A lot of people are out of work, “Shelby said.” We have a lot of suppliers there. “A spokesman for Shelby added that the country’s defense industrial base is” essential to our economy and the defense of our nation, “and said the bill would support millions of jobs.
However, there is no further justification for the huge arms procurement package, which was derived in part from the Pentagon’s list of “uncovered priorities”, which includes a list of items excluded from the official defense budget of $ 740 billion. In many cases, this measure does not say whether the money will buy more aircraft and other weapons or provide more money for existing contracts.
The Shelby measure would restore defensive dollars that have been diverted to work on border walls, such as $ 260 million for a high-speed seagoing ship to be built by Austal Ltd. in Mobile in Alabama. The Australian shipyard is also the most likely supplier of “four expeditionary medical ships”.
Anniston, Alabama, is also the recipient of $ 375 million in Lima, Ohio for improvements to Stryker Army combat vehicles. Mississippi and Maine shipyards would use $ 250 million for industrial shipbuilding bases.
“They changed the budget from the budget section to arms spending systems and a new federal building to block competition with the presidential hotel,” said Nita Lowey, DN.Y., chairwoman of the budget committee. “It is clear to me that amphibious ships do not feed hungry children.”
The package includes $ 1.8 billion to rebuild the FBI headquarters in downtown Washington. The building is located near the Trump International Hotel, and if the FBI moves a lot, it could be used to build another hotel that would compete with Trump. McConnell is trying to kill the idea after attracting widespread media control and coming under attack unrelated to COVID-19.
Shelby is one of the last shameless breeds of Senate veterans trying to push the envelope to meet their conditions. He also seems to be more independent than his predecessor, the late Senator Thad Cochran, R-Miss.