Democrats Criticize Senators Over Outspoken Statements

The Kansas Democratic Party released this statement Wednesday, March 5, five days after the U.S. Air Force awarded a contract to a European contractor over Boeing.

Kansas Senators' Statements on Boeing Don't Match Voting History

Topeka - In 2003 Senators Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback voted for a John McCain amendment that encouraged the Department of Defense to buy military equipment from foreign countries. And yet, since the Air Force announced their intent to bypass Boeing Co. for the second largest defense contract in history, the two Kansas Senators have been among the most vocal dissenters.

In 2003, Sen. McCain authored an amendment undermining "Buy American" rules requiring U.S. military equipment, defense systems and components to be manufactured in the United States. Both Roberts and Brownback voted in favor of the amendment. [Vote 191, 5/21/2003]

On Friday the Air Force announced a $35 billion contract to build new tanker refueling planes to a consortium built around European contractor EADS, the parent company of Airbus, and fronted by Northrop Grumman. While the planes will be assembled in Alabama, the components will largely be built in Europe at the cost of Kansas jobs.

"We've seen a lot of 'Buy American' talk from Sen. Roberts and Sen. Brownback in the days following the Air Force's decision, but their record doesn't back them up," said Kansas Democratic Party Executive Director Mike Gaughan. "Where has this concern been as members of the Senate?"