Senate panel backs plan for Air Force to lease Boeing planes

The Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee gave a big boost Tuesday to the ailing Boeing Co. by unanimously passing a $318 billion military spending bill that would allow the Air Force to enter long-term leasing deals worth as much as $20 billion for the Seattle company over a decade.

"This is critical for us," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., whose home state has been hit hard by Boeing's decision to lay off a third of its 90,000 workers. The layoffs will affect thousands in the Seattle area where the company builds commercial jets.

The Boeing lease provisions allows the Air Force to lease as many as 100 of Boeing's 767 airliners for 10 years for up to $20 million a plane. The deal is not included in the House-passed version of the defense appropriations bill (H.R. 3338). It is certain to be a central issue in the upcoming House-Senate conference on the rival spending measures, which both top out at $318 billion.

Jobs are not the only things at stake, said Murray of the leasing. She and other Senate backers of the deal said that existing Air Force tankers have become old and potentially dangerous. "I also have several Air Force bases in my state," Murray said, "and I've talked to the men and women headed to Afghanistan. We have an obligation to make sure they are safe and secure, and that is just as important as Boeing jobs."

Critics complain the deal would cost the taxpayers $6 billion to $9 billion more to lease rather than buy tanker versions of the 767. They note that the Air Force would have to return the tankers to Boeing after leasing them for 10 years unless they paid the company additional money to purchase them.

Leasing has the advantage of avoiding a sudden ballooning of the Pentagon budget, a feature that House opponents said made the Senate language appealing to the Bush administration.

In other sections of the money bill, which the subcommittee sent to its parent Appropriations Committee with little debate on Tuesday morning, President Bush receives the full $8.3 billion he requested for missile defense. The House measure contains $400 million less for that.

Although both House and Senate leaders had vowed to fight attempts by their colleagues to turn the appropriations bills into Christmas trees for holding pet projects, congressional analysts said both measures are now heavy with ornaments to benefit home areas of powerful lawmakers.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.