Northrop Grumman Long Range Strike Bomber concept (LRSB)

WASHINGTON: “I’m optimistic,” said the new president of the powerful Aerospace Industries Association, David Melcher, looking ahead to 2016. That statement in itself is a departure from the often dire warnings of his predecessor, long-time AIA president (and former Breaking Defense contributor) Marion Blakey. “Who would have thought four months ago that Ex-Im bank would be reauthorized?”… Keep reading →


WASHINGTON: The chairman of the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee, Rep. Rob Wittman, is strikingly optimistic about the chances for consummating the so-called grand bargain and ending the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. When I buttonholed him after a Tuesday Defense Writers’ Group breakfast, Wittman went so far as to say that “I think there’s… Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: Sequestration, sequestration, sequestration — that was the one note the Aerospace Industries Association struck over and over at its biggest annual public event.

Flanked by AIA’s now-iconic clock counting down 27 days before the sequester destroys “two million jobs” (a disputed figure), President Marion Blakey declared: “I’m an optimist and we have to prevail.” But with automatic budget cuts slated to take effect Jan. 2, unless Congress and the White House reach an increasingly unlikely deal, just how forestalling the sequester isn’t entirely clear. Nor did Blakey endorse the bold proposal of one of its member CEOs to raise corporate and individual tax rates as part of a deal. Keep reading →

CAPITOL HILL [updated 12:40 with Feinstein, Inouye remarks and results of amendment vote]: Sequestration drama roiled an otherwise pro forma mark-up of the Senate’s defense appropriations bill this morning, with a precious flicker of bipartisanship over the need to avert the sequester soon overtaken by disagreement over the legalities of layoff notices.

If the automatic cuts go into effect in January, “everything you achieved in this mark up is going to be wiped out,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham warned his fellow Senate appropriators. Graham said that averting the sequester was so important that he and his fellow Republicans must “readjust” their no-new-taxes pledge and make a deal with Democrats to raise revenues. Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: If Republicans don’t agree to a “balanced” deal that raises revenues, Democrats are willing to let sequestration strike on Jan. 2nd — and the Bush tax cuts expire on Dec. 31st — Sen. Patty Murray said this afternoon in a major escalation of Congress’s ongoing game of chicken.

“If we can’t get … a deal that calls on the wealthy to pay their fair share, I will absolutely continue this debate into 2013,” Sen. Murray told an audience at the left-of-center Brookings Institution today. “I think my party and the American people will support that.” Keep reading →