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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Base closing delay fails

You can thank Tom Delay for this bill failing in the House. Simmons knows that his neck is on the line so he's trying as hard as he can to stop the bases from closing in New London and Groton but Delay made sure that this bill would not not pass.

Texas is one of the red states that is actually picking up 6,150 more jobs because of the base realignments whereas Connecticut will to lose 8586 jobs.

From the Hartford Courant:

Simmons and his colleagues spent about an hour on the House floor pleading with colleagues to give the process more time. Simmons' district includes the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, one of 33 major bases the Pentagon has recommended closing.

"We need additional time to make reasonable judgments," said Simmons, wearing a tie imprinted with little submarines. "The strategic environment in which we are trying to operate is changing," he argued. American troops are at war, and the threats to this country are murky and evolving.

"How do we know what future basing requirements will be?" Simmons asked. "We don't."

But there was too much pressure from power brokers like DeLay, and too many members whose congressional districts stand to gain from the Base Realignment and Closure Commission's process, which began this month.

Rep. K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, for instance, described how a base in his district was left off the endangered list, and said a delay would mean "the euphoria of that day would be lost."

House leaders spread the word that they opposed Simmons' effort, an amendment to the $490.6 billion defense spending bill that the House went on to pass 390-39. All five Connecticut House members voted for the amendment and then for the overall bill.