The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 7, 1997 · Page 5
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 5

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Salina, Kansas
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Wednesday, May 7, 1997
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Page 5
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THE SALINA JOURNAL WASHINGTON WEDNESDAY, MAY 7, 1997 A6 V MILITARY BASE CLOSINGS Secretary wants base closings T WELFARE Cohen says $14 billion saved in latest rounds of cuts isn't enough to pay for weapons By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary William Cohen wants to close more military bases because the $14 billion savings from four rounds of shutdowns since 1988 are not enough, the Pentagon said Tuesday. Cohen wants Congress to approve two sets of closures in 1999 and 2001 on top of the nearly 100 sites ordered shut down in recent years, Pentagon sources said. But harsh reactions from key lawmakers indicated Cohen won't win approval without a fight. "Closing bases is never easy. ... It's time- consuming, it's emotional... but it worked," Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon said after disclosing Cohen's decision at a briefing. Bacon declined to say exactly how many closings Cohen was seeking or what sites might be targeted. But military maintenance depots would be considered for closures along with bases, he said. Congress approved legislation that began four rounds of base closures in 1988, shutting down 97 sites. Once those closures are completed in 2001, some $14 billion in net savings will have been achieved, Bacon said. Closing some bases has been more costly than expected because of environmental cleanup and legal "Does 'Over my dead body!' make it clear enough?" Rep. Joel Mefley Colorado Republican stating his objection to closing any more military bases costs. Bacon said he could not answer how much money Cohen wants to save through additional closures. Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., said he doubts Congress will approve additional base cuts. "We have not ... been able to reduce the size of the defense infrastructure in proportion to the size of the force, said Skelton, a member of the House National Security Committee. "I am very doubtful Congress will approve another round of base closures in the near future." "Does 'Over my dead body!' make it clear enough?" asked Rep. Joel Hefley, R-Colo., chairman of the House National Security subcommittee on military installations. Cohen has pointed out repeatedly that post-Cold War reductions in the military have pared active-duty forces by 33 percent but the military's base structure by only 18 percent. Bacon said the new secretary, a former GOP senator from Maine, believes the law that established the Base Closure and Realignment commission worked well and could work again. Cohen, who is wrapping up a wide-ranging review of military strategy and resources, needs to find savings to help the military update its weaponry for the coming century. The accounts that had paid for such weapons were tapped repeatedly in past years to keep the military in fighting shape. Military leaders need $15 billion annually over the next four years to pay for such weapons. Meanwhile, the administration is planning on holding Pentagon budgets annually to about $250 billion, putting pressure on Cohen to seek savings wherever he can. "Congress will have to go through the same choices that the military faced," and decide whether to pay for unneeded bases "or weapons to make our troops more effective in battle," Bacon said. Cohen's review also is expected to propose slicing the 1.4-million active-duty force by 60,000 men and women and cutting hundreds of warplanes from planned purchases of high-tech aircraft by the Air Force and Navy, say senior officials. The Air Force wants 438 F-22 stealth fighters, but the proposal calls for only 339. The Navy has sought 1,000 of the newly improved F-A-18 Super Hornets, but the plan calls for 785, said a senior military officer. Cohen is also looking at adding up to $2 billion to help develop a national missile defense, Bacon said. Republicans softened on aid for immigrants Kansans expect Fort Riley to survive Even with Dole, Kassebaum gone from Senate, Kansas bases expect good protection By The Associated Press The departures of congressional heavy- hitters Bob Dole and Nancy Kassebaum Baker from the U.S. Senate won't affect Fort Riley's chances of escaping more rounds of military base closures, boosters of the northeast Kansas Army post said Tuesday. "You can't replace Senator Dole and Senator Kassebaum, but we have very good representation, especially in the area of defense interests," said Fred Hepler, city manager for Junction City. Hepler was on the Governor's Task Force in Support of Fort Riley, an organization that disbanded after the last round of military base closures. Congress approved legislation that began four rounds of base closures in 1988. Fort Riley has escaped closure but has been pared from about 15,000 soldiers before reorganization began in June 1995 to about 9,900. In Washington on Tuesday, the Pentagon announced that Defense Secretary William "It was just two or three days ago that the Pentagon had announced, not officially, but that there wouldn't be a need for a commission, let alone two" Sen. Pat Roberts Cohen would ask Congress to pass legislation authorizing a new round of closures. Fort Riley spokeswoman Deb Skidmore said post officials don't know whether the post will be affected. "At this point, it's just speculation," Skidmore said. "I think it's pretty much decided above us." Dole was Senate majority leader during the most recent round of base closures, and he lobbied Defense Secretary William Perry heavily to keep Fort Riley, Fort Leavenworth and McConnell Air Force Bass from closing or being cut back. "I think that Fort Riley will ultimately be judged on its merits, and those merits have not changed," said veterinarian Casey Thomas, chairman of Kansans for a Strong Fort Riley. "Bob Dole and Nancy Kassebaum were tremendous ambassadors and certainly important to us." Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Intelligence Committee. Rep. Jim Ryun, a Republican whose district includes Fort Riley, is a member of the House National Security Committee. Both have direct jurisdiction over base closure issues. "I'm a little shocked by the secretary's position," Roberts said. "It was just two or three days ago that the Pentagon had announced, not officially, but that there wouldn't be a need for a commission, let alone two." Roberts suggested that budget savings could be handled through reductions in troops, changes in weapons and materials procurement, and how the armed forces are modernized. Governors' pressure convinced Congress to back renewing benefits By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — President Clinton began his second term promising to restore welfare benefits that legal immigrants lost in last year's welfare overhaul. Republicans promised to stop him. It's clear that Clinton has largely won, and disability checks will keep going out to hundreds of thousands of immigrants. It wasn't just deal-making that persuaded Republicans to change. Months of lobbying, notably from GOP governors, convinced leaders of Congress that helping immigrants made for good policy — and for good politics. "We met with the governors. We learned of some of the problems that were being experienced in the states and in the cities," said Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi. Republican governors from New York, Illinois and California made it clear that cutting benefits would leave their states to care for elderly, sick immigrants who legally came to this country under federal rules. v Such pressure helped persuade Lott, who originally ruled out restoring benefits, to accept Clinton's position in the balanced-budget deal announced Friday. At the start of budget negotiations, Republicans were unwilling even to consider it, said Franklin Raines, director of the Office of Management and Budget. "Over a period of time — and, I think, very good and healthy discussions — they came to agree with us that these provisions went too far," he said. THEATRES For MOVIE Selections and SHOWTIMES Call: 825-91O5 We've gone world wide web 1 www dickmsontheatres com Congressional Republicans also were affected by accounts in newspapers and on television about elderly immigrants being cut off the rolls, immigrant advocates say. "Republicans have been hard hit with the reality that the general public is angry," said Cecilia Munoz, deputy vice president of the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic rights group. Politically, she and others argued, it could only hurt the GOP with immigrants who had become voting citizens and with Americans who wanted welfare reform but didn't want to see old people thrown onto the streets. Lott said he changed his mind after learning how many disabled immigrants rely on the Supplemental Security Income program, which provides cash payments to elderly, disabled and blind people with low incomes. The CUPBOARD 2 911 B. West Crawford, Salina WEEKEHDS Friday & Saturday 5-9 pm Mother's Day 11-3 pm Glazed Ribs, BBQ Brisket, Smoked Chicken, Smoked Pork Chops Includes: Nutty cole slaw, potato salad, mashed potatoes & gravy, baked beans, corn, rolls £ butter, dessert & other specialty items. Iced tea & soft drinks included. Call and ask about catering for your special event. AU-you-can-eat: Children under 12 $Q99 •j^plus tax ctisli & personal check accepted Private party rooms available plus tax :!nl & \Valmil. Sinnlaii. KS School Bldtf. /(<)I::))-<;<>* 2 Hi I There's a new name in insurance! Sentinel INSURANCE GROUP I STANDING GUARD The name may be new, but the company isn't. Sentinel Insurance Group is a result of the recent merger between two of Salina's most respected insurance firms, RGB Schmidt Insurance and Bolen-Wood Insurance. For a combined 135 years, RGB Schmidt and Bolen-Wood Insurance have been providing the businesses and people of central Kansas the finest in insurance services. For a competitive estimate on your insurance needs, call Sentinel Insurance Group today. Bud DeArvil Chairman and CEO Ron Dupy President 405 E. Iron - Box 2747 • Salina, KS 67402-2747 BUS. (785) 827-7233 • (785) 823-6341 101 1/2 North Main, Undsborg, KS 67456 BUS. 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