Congressman for the 8th District Austin Scott believes some jobs at Macon's Boeing plant may be safe, at least for a few more years.
Scott said a defense bill passed out of the House Armed Services committee Thursday morning.
It includes bipartisan support, he said, for continuing the A-10 program. That's after the President's budget called for retiring the aging aircraft.
About 100 workers at Macon's Boeing plant make wings for the A-10. They're flown out of Valdosta's Moody Air Force Base, which is also in Scott's district.
The bill heads to the House for a vote. Then, the Senate.
Scott believes it can pass both, calling the A-10 "important to troops in combat."
He said, "I think the senate will hold for us on the A-10's. I don't think we will have this system five, six, seven years from now. But by that time, more advanced aircraft should be coming off the assembly line."
The Air Force has said the newer F15E and F16, and eventually the F35, can replace the A10, at a cost savings.
Scott said the defense bill also reaffirms the need for the Air Force Reserve Command Headquarters at Robins.
A committee said a few months ago, it wasn't necessary, and getting rid of it, would save money.
Scott said the bill not only bolsters the need for the headquarters at Robins; It also includes more than $27 million for constructing a new Reserve Command facility.
He said, "That's a complete turnaround from what we had seen a few months ago, and had been concerned about, and had been working on to make sure we kept that Air Force Reserve Command at Robins. So, were happy with that."
Scott said the bill also strikes down the President's call for another round of base closures, or BRAC. However, that doesn't take a 2017 BRAC off the table.
Scott said some legislators want the Department of Defense to provide more evidence that a BRAC would save money.
He said, "We have been consistent in saying we feel the president will force a BRAC, after the midterm election. I still feel like he will. What we have asked for is, for the different branches to give us the area, not the specific location, but the general areas of operation, where they feel like we have excess capacity."
If a 2017 BRAC takes place, Scott said he believes Robins will be in position to gain business.
He noted improvement in key markers at Robins, during the past few months.
Scott said, "We have new leadership at the union at the base, and they seem to be working very well with Air Force leadership. We have actually met with the new leadership, have met with Air Force leadership, and I personally feel very good about the relationship. And, that when the new performance numbers come out, I think we will look significantly better."