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Miller, Walberg Joint Statement on Meeting with Secretary of the Air Force

January 25, 2013
Press Release

U.S. Representatives Candice Miller (MI-10) and Tim Walberg (MI-7) released the following joint statement on the meeting they held with Air Force Secretary Michael Donley this past Tuesday.  Miller and Walberg said:

“We appreciated the opportunity to meet with Air Force Secretary Michael Donley to express our serious concerns over defense cuts that were outlined last week by the Pentagon and will be included in the budget President Obama will present to Congress next week.  These cuts will have a significant negative impact on the Michigan Air National Guard stationed at both Selfridge Air National Guard Base and Battle Creek Air National Guard Base, causing Michigan to absorb the most severe loss of National Guard jobs of any state in the country. 

“We emphasized to the Secretary that we did not believe forcing these cuts in Michigan represented a true shared sacrifice and that we strongly objected to the proposed National Guard cuts which we believe are not a cost effective solution to tight budgets.  We object to these cuts because we believe that the Air National Guard is the most cost-effective way to perform the A-10 mission, less costly and with the same superb performance, as they have most recently proven in their recent deployment to Afghanistan.  As well, the C-27J provides needed diversity to our air lift capability, is also ideally suited for responding to disasters, and does this in economical manner.  Unfortunately, Secretary Donley indicated that the Obama Administration is not open to making any alterations to their proposed cuts and all of the cuts outlined last week will be included in the budget the President plans to send to Congress next week. 

“Congress needs to act to turn back these cuts to the Guard.  We need every member of the Michigan Delegation, in both the House and Senate, fighting for these important Michigan assets.  It was discouraging last week to hear our senior Senator state in a press release, ‘the planned changes are far less dramatic than uninformed rumors had suggested.’  When we talk to our constituents who serve in the Guard as A-10 pilots who just returned from supporting our troops in Afghanistan, or who have been training to fly the C-27J out of Battle Creek, we can thank them for their service while at the same time explaining to them why their jobs are being eliminated.  We believe these cuts are very real for the A-10 mechanic or C-27J ground crew; it is dramatic for the potential loss of more than 600 jobs.  And as we have fought for all Michigan jobs in the past, we will fight for these as well.  We will not stand for unfounded, unfair and economically indefensible cuts to the Michigan Guard and will fight these cuts in the U.S. House in every way possible.  It is our hope the same will be done in the Senate.

“We have been very pleased with the level of cooperation and information we have received from the Michigan Guard.  They have been an invaluable resource in this fight and are clearly focused on protecting their mission and most importantly the men and women who serve us all.  Just as we are proud of those who bravely serve in the Michigan Guard, we are also proud to fight on their behalf.”