WHO: Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17)
Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01)
Congressman Dave Loebsack (IA-02)
Area leaders, Governor’s offices, Senator’s offices.
WHAT: Congressmen Schilling, Braley, and Loebsack are calling for a bipartisan community task force meeting to mount an all-out effort to preserve and strengthen the Rock Island Arsenal and the Quad Cities’ defense manufacturing capabilities.
WHEN: Saturday February 4, 2012 from 8:00 – 9:30 am
WHERE: Black Hawk College – Quad Cities Campus, Building 2 Room 105, located at 6600 34th Avenue, Moline, Illinois 61265
WHY: Following Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s announcement last week regarding efforts by the Department of Defense in the Pentagon’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget to achieve cuts included in America’s new defense strategy, Congressmen Schilling, Loebsack, and Braley are urging the entire Quad Cities region to come together in support of the Rock Island Arsenal and the Quad Cities’ defense manufacturing capabilities. The FY2013 budget is the first budget that will begin addressing the $487 billion cut to defense spending over the next decade. This budget does not reflect potential triggered ‘sequestration’ cuts, which would add an additional $500 billion cut starting in January 2013.
The Secretary’s announcement included mention of programs vital to the Quad Cities, including industrial base skills. Per the DOD’s Defense Priorities and Choices, the planned budget states that it will “sustain, where possible, these segments of the industrial base.” It takes into account the “key skills in the design and manufacture of military systems that cannot be duplicated elsewhere in the economy or regenerated quickly.
The Congressmen are part of the bi-state, bipartisan delegation that represents the Rock Island Arsenal, and have led the charge to grow workload and jobs at the Rock Island Arsenal. The Arsenal is a major jobs engine in the Quad Cities and – with approximately 8,600 workers living on both sides of the Mississippi River – its largest employer. Over 35 private-sector companies have leases at the Arsenal, which also houses approximately 50 Department of Defense organizations. Further, its business supports over 14,000 additional jobs in the surrounding area. Schilling and Loebsack both serve on the House Armed Services Committee, and successfully inserted language into the FY2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to permanently lift the cap on the number of public-private partnerships that arsenals are able to enter into. Removing that cap increases the Arsenal’s ability to increase its workload, grow their local economies, and strengthen our domestic manufacturing base. The three Congressmen are now working to form a coalition of local leaders to promote the Arsenal’s value to our national defense strategy.
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