AIA Urges Congress to Repeal or Raise Caps on Defense Spending
By JAMES PETERSON, Special Correspondent
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) has called on the leaders of the budget committees of the House of Representatives and Senate to repeal the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011 or raise the caps on defense spending and closely related programs.
In a May 11 letter to the committee chairs and ranking members, AIA claims the current budget prevents the United States from providing proper national security. Changing the cap listed in the BCA from $549 billion to President Donald J. Trump’s goal of $603 billion will be in the best interest of the country, the letter said. The signers also listed economic growth and increased safety as benefits of raising the budget.
The BCA, signed in 2011 by then-President Barak Obama, set limits to the federal budget and triggered cuts, 50 percent of which were to come from the Defense Department. The bill also enforces these budget caps for every fiscal year until 2021, although Congress has provided relief in some years through 2017.
“Repealing or raising the current caps will better enable the aerospace industry to support servicemen and women, explore the frontiers of space with confidence and ensure a safe and efficient commercial air transportation system,” the AIA said. “Lifting these arbitrary spending limits also will boost American manufacturing and drive overall economic growth. Aerospace and defense companies employ 1.7 million Americans and represent 13 percent of the country’s overall manufacturing base. In 2016, our industry generated a record $146 billion in exports, contributing a record $90 billion surplus toward America’s trade balance.”
“The constraints imposed by the Budget Control Act, however well-intentioned, pose significant danger to our national security, leave our troops less prepared to defeat looming threats, and limit industry’s ability to invest in innovation and technology for the future,” the letter said. “A stable, multi-year budget is needed to fund strategic requirements, current operations and future modernization efforts.”
The letter was signed by AIA Chairman Dennis A. Muilenberg, who is chairman, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Boeing Co.; AIA Vice Chairman Thomas A. Kennedy, chairman and CEO of Raytheon Co.; and AIA President and CEO David F. Melcher.