Boeing's biggest supporters roared out of the gate Tuesday after the World Trade Organization issued a final ruling that Airbus enjoyed unfair subsidies from European governments.
“Enough is enough. For too long, workers in Washington state have had to fight an uphill battle. Instead of competing just with Airbus, they’ve been forced to compete with the deep pockets of European governments that supply Airbus with illegal launch aid," Sen. Patty Murray of Washington said in a statement. Then she aimed straight at the tanker competition. "It’s clear that the A330, the very plane Airbus would offer our military, has received illegal subsidies that have hurt American workers. Now’s not the time to delay this competition further. Especially not for a company that is undercutting our workers. It's time to stop bending over backwards to meet the demands of an illegally subsidized foreign company and to move forward with providing America's military with an American-made tanker.”
Rep. Todd Tiarht, the Kansas lawmaker who has supported Boeing's tanker bid with vigor, said that, "giving a vital national security component like the aerial refueling tanker to a foreign entity is reckless and extremely dangerous."
The WTO ruled that European governments unfairly financed Airbus and harmed Boeing by providing what the AP called "subsidies through risk-free loans, research funding and infrastructure support."
Rep. Norm Dicks, long Boeing's most voluble and demanding supporter on the tanker deal, was uncharacteristically quiet in the wake of the WTO ruling. While he did slam the company for the subsidies it received, he did not mention the tanker in his statement. Perhaps the weight of being chairman of the primary House defense spending panel is beginning to change Dicks' behavior.