The Ohio lawmakers in Washington have started their fight to restore funding for the Abrams Tank, and the hundreds of jobs at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center that go along with it.
Last week we told you about the possibility of around 200 people being laid off from the JSMC, if funding was not returned to the defense departments budget. You may recall Senator Sherrod Brown sent a letter to members of the Senate Armed Services Committee to continue to fund the M1A2 Abrams Tank. This week, Congressman Jim Jordan, with over one hundred other members of congress, sent a letter Leon Panetta asking that funding be restored to the tank program.
The next ten days will be critical for the tank program, as the Armed Services Committee will be reviewing funding. Congressman Mike Turner, who sits on the Armed Services Committee's Air and Land Forces sub-committee, says getting the funding restored for the Abrams will be crucial to the survival of the plant. As of right now, funding will not be restored until year 2017. Turner says the cost of getting the plant up to speed later will cost more than funding it now.
Last year, Turner took the chair of the Air and Land Committee to JSMC to show them the importance of the plant. Lawmakers were able to secure 500 million dollars after starting out with nothing for Abrams Tank Program. JSMC plant manager Keith Deters went to Washington DC to ask for just over one hundred and 80 million dollars. Turner says that is a small prices to save the country billions.
If the Land and Air sub-committee finds a way to put funding back into the Abrams Tank Program, Turner says there's a good chance that it could stay in the budget. Still, there are months of other hurdles it needs to jump through before the President signs it.