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Bill would kill base closing plans

House lawmaker introduces legislation that would squelch plans to close and realign military facilities.

Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill., on Tuesday introduced legislation that would shoot down the independent base closure commission's recommendations to shutter 22 major military facilities and realign 33 others.

LaHood has been particularly opposed to plans that would take aircraft from Air National Guard units, including those belonging to the 183rd Fighter Wing in his district.

Illinois lawmakers and others affected by the Air Guard recommendations across the country have lost a series of legal battles that hinged on whether the Pentagon has authority to take aircraft from the state-run units.

LaHood's legislation is the first measure introduced to stop base closures since President Bush approved the commission's report last week.

Congress has 45 days from last Thursday to pass a joint resolution disapproving the list in its entirety -- an unprecedented move not expected to succeed in this closure round. If a joint resolution fails, the commission's list will go into effect.

Although LaHood's close friend and colleague House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., has been openly critical of the commission's decisions affecting Illinois bases, LaHood's spokesman said the measure does not yet have any co-sponsors. LaHood, he said, "wanted to get it dropped as soon as possible."