Sens. Toomey And Casey's Bradley Fighting Vehicle Amendment Moves Forward
Amendment is one step closer to passage
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A bipartisan Bradley Fighting Vehicle amendment introduced by U.S. Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) was included in the managers' package for the National Defense Authorization Act Thursday night, significantly increasing its prospects for inclusion in the final bill.
The National Defense Authorization Act (S. 3254) is currently pending on the Senate floor. The manager's package was adopted Thursday night by unanimous consent.
The president's fiscal year 2013 budget contains a production break for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle starting in 2014 and possibly extending through 2017. A production break could create significant defense industrial base issues.
BAE Systems, which upgrades the vehicles in Fayette and York counties, has estimated the costs of shutdown and restarting could be as much as $750 million. And in addition to costs, a prolonged shutdown could result in the loss of engineering talent, a skilled workforce and key suppliers across the United States.
The senators' amendment would order the secretary of the Army to conduct a study on the Bradley Fighting Vehicle industrial base, including the quantitative and qualitative impacts of a production break for the vehicle.
The amendment's study would assess the cost of a shutdown versus the cost of continued production. It would also assess the loss of a specialized workforce and supplier base.
"I believe insufficient information is available to the Army and Congress to make an informed decision on what the potential risks would be of closing the production lines for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.," Sen. Toomey said. "I look forward to seeing the Defense Department complete this study so Congress can ensure the health of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle industrial base which produces this vehicle so vital to our Army."
"Eliminating production of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle could wind up costing the military more money in the long run and hurt workers in Fayette and York counties," Sen. Casey said. "Every year, this combat vehicle supports more than 500 jobs in York and boosts the commonwealth's economy by $60 million while keeping our troops safe. It's critical that we keep production going."
Community and business leaders in Pennsylvania have expressed concerns about the planned shutdown's impact on employment and the economy and support the senators' amendment.
"The shutdown of production of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle in York County would have a significant negative impact on the families and businesses in our area. The result of a production shutdown, temporary or otherwise, would create another great burden on an already struggling economy. I support Senator Pat Toomey's efforts to mitigate this action," said state Senator Mike Waugh (R-28th).
"It is of great concern to learn of a potential production break of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, which is produced partly in Fayette County. The proposed budgetary action could lead to the loss of many local, family-sustaining jobs and would have a negative economic impact on businesses throughout the county. Fay-Penn has and will continue to support BAE Systems and the engineering talent that they employ in our county," said Michael Jordan, executive director of the Fay-Penn Economic Development Council in Lemont Furnace.
"The fiscal year 2013 budget request for Bradley Fighting Vehicles will result in BAE Systems having to significantly reduce our York workforce of skilled craftsmen due to a forced shutdown of the Bradley line by mid-2014. After that shutdown, many of these employees would not be available to return in two or three years. Therefore anything that can be done to highlight this situation - such as the study that Sens. Toomey and Casey are suggesting - would be helpful," said Todd Harrold, vice president of manufacturing operations for BAE Systems.
"We think that the Army is realizing that if they close the Bradley line down for three years, we may not be around when they need our products later. We need someone to get the government's attention on this issue," said Scott Wagner, president of Penn Waste in York.
"The Army asked BAE Systems to estimate how much it would cost to shut down and restart the Bradley manufacturing line. BAE's estimate is more than $700 million. Why wouldn't the government look at keeping the line open and upgrading more older Bradleys that need the work anyway? Pennsylvania's senators are on the right path to better understanding all this," said Jeffrey Adams, president of AMZ Manufacturing Corp. in York.