Not Letting Up

A bipartisan group of seven Senators is reviving efforts to force the Defense Department to consider the impact of improper foreign aircraft subsidies in the Air Force’s KC-X tanker competition. Led by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), these lawmakers—all of whom represent states in which KC-X bidder Boeing has a large presence—have introduced legislation dubbed the “Defense Level Playing Field.” This bill would require the Air Force to consider the World Trade Organization’s ruling last year against Airbus, according to a release from Moran. WTO found that Airbus, a subsidiary of EADS North America, the other KC-X contender, received improper aircraft subsidies from European governments. The legislation mimics a measure passed by the House last year. DOD has pushed to keep the contentious subsidies issue out of the KC-X source selection, arguing that trade issues are higher level government matters. Plus, there’s a European counterclaim against Boeing that WTO is still adjudicating.