Congressman Mac Thornberry discusses issues that could impact our area

Congressman Mac Thornberry discusses issues that could impact our area

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Congressman Mac Thornberry was in Amarillo today, discussing his thoughts on a number of issues that could impact the district.

On Friday afternoon, Congressman Thornberry shared his thoughts on various issues, including border wall security, the president’s national emergency declaration and the military budget.

Congressman Thornberry did express his support of a border wall, however, he is concerned about the national emergency interfering with military funding.

“If you take away that money, it means soldiers that won’t have decent barracks to live in, it means there will be old World War II hangers we put very expensive planes in, you know the list goes on and on,” said Thornberry. “So, it ought to be funded in its own right, in my opinion.”

As Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Thornberry stresses the importance of funding for the military.

During the Obama administration, Thornberry said the defense budget was cut by 20 percent, mostly impacting military construction.

“There is a huge back log of military construction facilities. Taking money out of that fund that is already behind and using it for any other purpose is really something problematic,” said Thornberry.

In regards to the most recent government shutdown, which effected hundreds of thousands around the country, Thornberry said Bell Helicopter and Pantex were not impacted.

“As I say, the military was fully funded for the whole year and, by the way, the Department of Energy budget was full funded for the whole year, so Pantex, Bell, were not part of the shutdown," Thornberry explained.

For Bell Helicopter, there have been many advancements in manufacturing in the last few years, including a $4.2 billion addition to a contract to buy V-22 Ospreys, which are partly manufactured in Amarillo. The V-22′s will go to the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. Just this year, Bell also received a $440 million contract to build 25 more Bell AH-IZ Viper attack helicopters for the Navy. 40 percent of the work for these helicopters are expected to be done in Amarillo, with the remainder of the work being done in Fort Worth.

Thornberry said he is proud of these accomplishments at Amarillo’s Bell Helicopter, saying, “It is absolutely true that Bell is doing a good job going around the world describing the benefits of its helicopters, especially the V-22 and there are other nations looking at buying those things and that would be good for Amarillo and good for Bell.”

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