(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) today pointed to a new analysis that shows the U.S. would lose nearly 14,000 jobs if the Air Force aerial refueling contract goes to European-based Airbus as further evidence that the Pentagon made the wrong decision. The study, done by the independent, nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute (EPI), shows that Boeing would create at least twice as many jobs as Airbus in the U.S., or a difference of more than 14,000 positions. In addition to the job losses, Senator Murray has pointed to illegal subsidies Airbus receives, additional construction costs, national security concerns, and the long-term effects on the domestic aerospace industry as reasons for concern over awarding the contract to Airbus.
"This study provides a clear-eyed look at the damage awarding the tanker contract to Airbus would do to our aerospace industry," said Senator Murray. "At a time when hard working Americans are struggling just to make ends meet, allowing 14,000 family-wage jobs to be lost should be out of the question. These findings are especially troubling when you consider that Boeing has put forward a tanker that is more cost effective, proven, and survivable in addition to creating double the jobs here at home."
The EPI study found, using all publicly-available information, that awarding Boeing the tanker contract would create an estimated 28,707 U.S. based jobs while Airbus would create only an estimated 14,353 U.S based jobs. While Air Force officials have stated that employment figures were not considered in awarding the contract, Senator Murray has repeatedly said that it is Congress's job to consider additional factors. In a Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on May 20th Senator Murray told Defense Secretary Gates that it was Congress's responsibility to take a more comprehensive approach.
"In Congress we have a lot wider purview," Murray said. "We have the duty to do what DOD can't do. We have to look at unfair competition, we have to look at companies using illegal means to break into the U.S. defense and commercial markets, we have to look at long term nation security implications, and we have to look at how this affects our industrial base and capability."
Boeing has protested the award and it is currently under review by the Government Accountability Office. A decision is expected on June 19, 2008.
TODAY: Senator Murray also discussed Congress’s role in getting answers in a speech on the Senate floor today.