The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Politics

February 20, 2013

Dems, GOP converge in defense cut hypocrisy

(Continued)

Lima, population 38,000, once boasted 8,000 defense jobs, said the city's mayor, David Berger, a Democrat. That changed with the closing of a Textron Inc.-operated facility that made jet aircraft engine parts and a plant once owned by Westinghouse that made aircraft ignition systems, Berger said.

The Abrams tank plant, owned by the Army and operated by General Dynamics, employed 3,800 people in the early 1990s. It's now down to about 600 workers.

The political action committee for General Dynamics, based in Falls Church, Virginia, has given Jordan $37,000 since 2006, making it his second-best contributor, Federal Election Commission data show.

So far, Jordan's camp is winning the tank argument.

President Barack Obama sought just $74 million this fiscal year for the upgrade of 33 tanks. The House budgeted more than triple that amount — providing $255 million in an annual measure authorizing defense spending. In a compromise with the Senate that Obama signed into law in December, the program received $210 million.

Jordan's role in keeping the tank line alive isn't endorsed by all his constituents. His Northwest Ohio district has had a Republican representative since 1938 and smaller-government messages have appeal.

"He's a budget hawk, supposedly," said Jim Carder, a Lima real-estate agent and a Republican voter. "That is, until they want to cut something in his district."

Leading the Senate's effort to cut government spending is new budget Chairwoman Murray, who in 20 years in office has amassed a record of antiwar votes and represents a state that made news last year by legalizing gay marriage and marijuana.

She voted against the Iraq war resolution and subsequent troop surges, instead favoring several measures aimed at bringing troops home. After the wars began, she backed spending to support those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Her opposition to the conflicts hasn't stopped her from working to secure one of the most expensive Pentagon projects: an aircraft whose prime purpose is to service warplanes.

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