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Fort Wayne jets can stay: Obama signs defense bill

Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 10:07 am

HONOLULU – President Obama has signed a $633 billion defense bill for next year that supporters of the 122nd Fighter Wing have said would prevent cuts to the Fort Wayne-based Air National Guard unit. The bill also bolsters security at diplomatic missions worldwide after the deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya.

U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman and a spokesman for the 122nd said last month that the bill would allow the base to maintain its A-10 ground-attack planes instead of switching to the MC-12 reconnaissance plane – a move that could cost 150 jobs.

Obama had threatened to veto the bill because of a number of concerns, including limits on his authority to transfer terrorist suspects from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for one year.

But he said that although he continued to oppose certain sections of the bill, "the need to renew critical defense authorities and funding was “too great to ignore.”