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Rep. Scott says BRAC vote likely to pass in 2015

Congressman for the 8th District Austin Scott believes Congress will vote to approve a new round of Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC.

He said during a visit to Macon on Tuesday, that he doesn't think President Obama will call for the vote this year, because of the midterm election.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel asked for BRAC in his 2015 budget request.

Scott said, "With the military budget, the president is trying to push on us, were pushing back already and intend to push back pretty hard. I think if you look at the cuts coming from this administration for the military, I think you've got 500 fewer airplanes in this budget than we had last year. I think yes, he will get the votes for a BRAC, not this year but next year."

Also in the Department of Defense budget proposal, Hagel included cutting the A-10 program.

They're flown out Moody Air Force Base, and Macon's Boeing plant makes the wings. Both are in the 8th District.

Scott said the plans are still on the table, but he's working to slow down the time frame in which the aircraft would be retired.

He said, "The Air Force proposal actually draws them down over the course of 24 months. We have convinced enough members of the committee, that the Air Force should prove to us, there's a weapon system in place to provide that cover for our troops in combat, the close air support, prior to drawing down the A-10. Hopefully, if nothing else, we will be able to slow the draw-down from two years to maybe five years."

Hagel said savings from retiring the A-10s would go toward developing the F-35 fighter jets. Those will be flown and maintained out of Hill Air Force Base in Utah.

Despite cuts on the horizon, Scott says the Air Force is committed to keeping three Air Logistics Complexes; Robins Air Force Base being one of them. The others at Hill Air Force Base in Utah and Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma.

Because of that commitment, restated by Air Force top leaders in Washington DC recently, Scot said he is optimistic about bout Robins future.

However, he said solving problems with Robins finishing repair work on-time is critical to keeping existing work and attracting new missions.

Scott said, "I would say it's off the charts. We can't be at 50-percent when the other bases approach 100-percent. It's not that we can't get it back. We will get it back. Weve got to break it down into smaller issues, and address them by one-by-one. If we get our productivity back, when we get our productivity back, we should expect and receive more work from Air Force Materiel Command."

Rep. Scott also said he's also concerned about the number of grievances filed by Robins union employees. It's far above grievance numbers from Hill and Tinker.

He said he is watching the outcome of Tuesday's union election do-over. It's happening, because of some ballots found in a trash can after the first election last October.

That election ousted long-term leader Tom Scott and brought in Robbie Tidwell's team.

Scott said he did not believe the issue warranted redoing the election. He said, "Certainly, I think there was a fair election held a couple of months ago and leadership elected in that election, I hope will remain there. They had a fair election and that's the way it should work."

He said there had been a change in the attitude of the new leadership team that he wanted to continue. However, Scott said he also was willing to work on issues with the former leadership team.

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