Simpson Votes to Extend Life of A-10 Program; Labrador Votes 'No'


Boise Mayor Dave Bieter had particular praise for Rep. Mike Simpson's vote late Thursday to toss a life preserver to the U.S. Air Force's A-10 program.

Rep. Raul Labrador voted against the bill, which calls for keeping the A-10 aloft until 2015.

This past March, Air Force brass hinted that they were thinking about merging the National Guard air mission at Boise's Gowen Field with the Air Force mission at Mountain Home Air Force Base. But the A-10 operation at Gowen is linked to approximately 1,000 jobs, setting off a major lobbying effort from Idaho and local officials in an effort to slow down any talk of possible closures or mergers.

And on Thursday, the U.S. House passed the National Defense Authorization Act, including funding for the A-10 program through Fiscal Year 2015.

Additionally on Thursday, the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee voted to approve its own version of a FY 2015 authorization bill.

"Today's votes in the House of Representatives and the Senate Committee are tremendously promising signs for the Idaho Air National Guard and its continued use of the A-10," said Bieter. "We are still a long way from the finish line, but it's clear with these votes that there is support of the A-10 in Congress. I offer my thanks to Congressman Simpson for his support of the bill and look forward to working with Sen. Crapo and Sen. Risch as we continue to fight for the A-10 and the Idaho Air Guard."

In a statement to Boise Weekly late Thursday, Labrador said the bill dealt "with a lot more than the A-10 issue."

"I would have voted for the A-10 extension as a standalone bill, but they included it in this massive bill," said Labrador. "I opposed the National Defense Authorization Act because I do not think it adequately protects our civil liberties and does not make the tough financial choices necessary to regain our fiscal stability. The ambiguity regarding the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism without a trial is dangerous to civil liberties and needs to be clarified to protect the freedom of all Americans."