Late Wednesday, the Obama administration awarded an aviation contract to Brazil-based Embraer. The contract is for a fleet of Light Air Support (LAS) aircraft that will be used by the nascent Afghan air force in its fight against the Taliban.
Two firms vied for the contract, Embraer and Hawker Beechcraft, which is based in Wichita, KS. The contracting process was plagued with bias against Hawker, which has yet to be accounted for or explained.
The Obama administration’s decision sends most of the 1,400 jobs the contract will create out of the United States to Brazil, and to a company that is essentially state-run and has ties to Iran.
Reaction to the administration’s decision to send $427.4 million taxpayer dollars and 1,400 jobs overseas has been swift.
David Williams, president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, says “After a long-drawn-out contracting process that has been marred in controversy and questionable conduct by government officials, the Pentagon and the Obama Administration have again decided to put taxpayers at risk and ship jobs overseas by allowing a foreign company to produce important components of our national security.
“On Thursday February 27th, Department of Defense (DOD) officials awarded the Light Air Support (LAS) contract to the Brazilian aircraft maker, Embraer. Interestingly and without explanation, the cost of the contract to taxpayers somehow ballooned from $355 million to $427.5 million, a 20 percent increase. With sequestration and billions of dollars in defense cuts set to take place, taxpayers should be outraged at this cost increase.
“By awarding the contract to the Brazilians, the Administration has once again failed to give Beechcraft, the American-made aircraft manufacturer vying for the contract, the full and fair consideration that was required during the procurement process…
“…Now, the Administration is doubling-down on their prior mistakes by putting a critical defense project in the hands of a foreign sovereign. The extent of the carnage this decision causes is not just limited to the millions that will be sent overseas for these 20 LAS aircraft in the near-term. There are broader implications and untold billions of taxpayer dollars at stake by the Pentagon’s decision to grant the U.S. Air Force’s seal of approval to a foreign entity – backed financially and politically by Brazil. The Brazilian government has a “golden share” in Embraer, which essentially translates into operational control of the company. Not only does this put tax dollars at risk with the Brazilian company, but also could threaten US national security. The Administration’s unjustifiable endorsement of this Brazilian company could be exploited by them to gain unfair and unwarranted advantages in the U.S. and around the world. Meanwhile, domestic manufacturers are forced to cut jobs and highly skilled workers remain unemployed here at home.
“Therefore, we call on the Administration and DOD officials to halt this procurement process immediately and provide taxpayers a reasonable explanation as why they are prioritizing the interests of a foreign sovereign company ahead of the American worker and risking billions of taxpayer dollars.”