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Government and Politics


Portman will be looking for clues on the Lima tank plant in the budget
Ohio's Republican senator maintains keeping the plant open makes more sense than DOD plans to mothball it
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


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M.L. Schultze
 
The military wants to put the plant in Lima that makes the Abrams tank on hold.
Courtesy of unc-cfc-usfk
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President Obama’s 2015 budget will be released tomorrow. Amid the thousands of pages and trillions of dollars in proposed spending will be more hints about the future of the Lima tank plant – and of the Ohio town itself. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more.

LISTEN: The budget and the M1A1

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The Lima tank plant has united at least one Democrat and one Republican senator in a fight against the Pentagon. Ohio’s U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman are both opposed to defense department plans to mothball the plant in Ohio that makes the M1A1 Abrams tank. The military says it has all it needs of the tank, and originally proposed shutting the plant down until 2016 to save money. 

Portman says he expects to learn more from the president’s budget, but the military is now talking about shuttering the plant until 2017 or even 2018. Portman, a deficit hawk insists that’s bad policy. 

 “All we have done is said, during this interim period, let’s keep this line open. Yes, it’s at a reduced cost to taxpayers. But by keeping the line open, by continuing the modernization effort of our existing tanks, and by getting foreign customers into the plant …. we keep the industrial base going, we keep the supply chain going so that it is ready for what will be a new Army ground combat vehicle and new Marine Corps vehicles.” 

The Senate and House came up with as much as $90 million last fall to help the Lima plan and the plant got a contract from Saudi Arabia last fall for more than $187 million.

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