Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp, who serves on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, lambasted the Obama administration’s decision in a statement issued December 27:
“It is simply wrong for the Obama Administration to hire a Brazilian company to handle national security when we have a qualified and competent American company that can do the job,” Congressman Huelskamp said. “With millions of Americans out of work, it makes no sense to award the work to a foreign company. Along with my colleagues in the Kansas delegation, I will continue to attempt to right this wrong in order to preserve America’s national and economic security interests.”
The editorial board of the Wichita Eagle, the Taxpayer Protection Alliance, Women Impacting Public Policy, and others have come out questioning the Air Force’s decision.
Given President Obama’s rhetoric against American companies that outsource jobs overseas, the decision to outsource the next generation of US light attack aircraft to a questionable overseas company is curious, to say the least. The administration’s rough treatment of Hawker Beechcraft may well have a political dimension, as the company is well known for manufacturing high performance business jets. The president has sharply criticized “corporate jet owners” on several occasions. Additionally, Embraer boasts of its attention to “environmental sustainability,” which may have helped boost its profile with the administration that brought us the boondoggle known as Solyndra.
The LAS contract is worth between $1 billion and $1.5 billion.