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  • Rep. Bonner Presses For Tanker Answers
    Posted by Jen DiMascio 5:41 PM on Mar 31, 2011

    EADS aerial refueling tanker supporters just won't leave Boeing’s recent win alone.

    Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.), represents the district where EADS would have assembled the tankers.

    In a House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing Thursday, he grilled Air Force Secretary Mike Donley about who had the authority to approve changes to the tanker program in the future and whether Congress had to be notified.

    According to Donley, he’ll be the one to approve changes to the program. And the Air Force will provide Congress with periodic program updates. “We’re not required by law to inform you of every contract change,” he said. “But certainly we can make that available upon request.”

    Rep. Norm Dicks (Wash.), the committee's ranking Democrat and one of the biggest supporters of Boeing on Capitol Hill leaned far forward in his seat during the whole exchange.

    As he left the hearing, Bonner told Aviation Week that in a time when Congress is scrutinizing every penny it spends, he could find bipartisan support for ensuring the tanker is delivered on time at the price that was originally promised.

    But what’s Bonner driving at exactly? Does he want to write some kind of legislation that would require the Air Force to let Congress know about change orders?
    Bonner was noncommital.

    “You never know what you need to do until you get the basics of understanding about what the facts are,” he said.

    Tags: Tanker, Boeing, EADS

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