U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney was celebrating the apparent demise of a proposal for a new round of military Base Realignment and Closures Wednesday after the chairwoman of a key Congressional subcommittee announced her intention to block it.
Courtney issued a press release commending Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill for rejecting a Defense Department proposal requesting a new round of base closures, known as BRAC. In January, Courtney and Sens. Joe Lieberman and Richard Blumenthal called the request “dead on arrival” in Congress.
On Wednesday, McCaskill said she wouldn’t allow the proposal to pass through the Senate Armed Services Readiness and Management Support subcommittee, which she chairs.
Savings associated with BRAC typically aren’t realized until well after the closures, so another round wouldn’t help the Pentagon meet the targets called for in the Budget Control Act, the press release said. During a House Armed Services Committee hearing, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that the initial costs of the last BRAC round in 2005 weren’t acceptable.
“The Pentagon’s tepid defense of its request reinforces what I said to Secretary Panetta weeks ago: BRAC has no bearing on the Pentagon’s budget plan or the Budget Control Act,” Courtney said in a statement. “Accordingly, it should be discarded as a pointless distraction from the real and serious job at hand: producing a balanced approach to the nation’s fiscal challenges that provides for a strong national defense.
Courtney said that while another BRAC round now seems unlikely, it’s important to continue defending the New London SUBASE. The submarine base was originally slated for closure under the last round of BRAC however it was taken off the list in 2005.
“I look forward to continuing to work with the Connecticut Congressional Delegation, Gov. Malloy and his team, as well as our experienced members of Team Connecticut to continue to support the base and its critical role in our nation’s defense,” he said.
Courtney serves on the House Armed Services Committee and Readiness Subcommittee.