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Rep. Shuster's bill would bring work to Letterkenny

Pa. congressman's measure would defund Medium Extended Air Defense System

April 11, 2013|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster has introduced legislation he said would stop the wasteful mismanagement of funds while securing work for Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg.

Shuster, R-Pa., opposes continued development funding of the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) program.

“MEADS is a failure, and we can no longer afford to continue spending millions of dollars on a program that DoD has stated they have no intention of completing,” Shuster said in a news release.

While visiting the Chambersburg depot last week, Shuster said he would prefer funding designated for MEADS instead be invested in the Patriot missiles systems developed at Letterkenny.

Shuster serves on the House Armed Services Committee.

In the release, Shuster argued the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2013 “explicitly prohibits any moneys to be allocated toward MEADS.” He said his legislation, House Bill 1481, enforces current law, removes funding for MEADS and addresses the potentially poor timing of decreasing the missile defense budget when international stability remains uncertain.

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About $381 million in funding is designated for the MEADS program, Shuster said.

“With North Korea’s threatened missile capabilities becoming more realistic, this language provides another sound reason to reprogram the funding toward proven missile defense programs,” Shuster said in the release.

Shuster’s news release called MEADS “a missile to nowhere.”

Shuster questioned Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel about MEADS during a hearing Thursday. Hagel told him he believes a final payment must be made under a contract.

“If we didn’t fulfill that commitment, there’d be litigation costs and there would be penalty costs (that) might have actually gone more than what we’re going to do to fulfill our obligations to our partners, Italy and Germany, on that,” Hagel said, according to a transcript of the hearing provided by Shuster’s office.

The original co-sponsors of the bill include U.S. Reps. Michael Turner, R-Ohio; Niki Tsongas, D-Mass.; and Mike Coffman, R-Ohio.

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