LOS ANGELES, June 14 (Xinhua) -- A U.S. House panel
gave its backing to Boeing's production of the C-17 cargo plane, a move that
would save a Boeing factory which employs 6,500 workers, according to Bloomberg
News on Wednesday.
The House Appropriations Committee, in a defense
spending bill set for a full House vote next week, would provide 798 million
U.S. dollars to buy three C-17s more than the 180 delivered or on order,
brushing aside Defense Department objections, said the report.
The Senate has not yet acted on its version of the
Boeing's factory which produces the C-17 in Long
Beach, Los Angeles, would close in 2008 without additional orders for the
aircraft, which cost about 200 million dollars each. Almost 150 of the planes
have been delivered.
"It's an important economic asset for Long Beach, but
it's probably equally important for Southern California" because many of the
plant's workers live in the region, said Robert Swayze, manager of economic
development for Long Beach.
About 5,600 employees of suppliers in California also
rely on the C-17, he said.
Rep. C.W. "Bill" Young, chairman of the
Appropriations subcommittee on defense, said the full committee acted "in
recognition of the C-17 Globemaster's performance in the global waron terrorism
and to preserve" the production line.
The action by the committee, which approves the money
spent by the U.S. government for the fiscal year, mirrors moves by the House and
Senate panels that authorize defense spending.
Chicago-based Boeing, the No. 2 U.S. defense
contractor, has been lobbying Congress this year to overturn the Pentagon's
decision to end production.
The company and representatives of about 150
subcontractors met with lawmakers on March 8 in Washington to protest the
The Pentagon decided to stop making the aircraft
after 2008 because a review of military mobility concluded that the Air Force
had adequate aircraft and the Navy had enough fast
in the planned inventory to move Army and Marine
Corps ground units in a timely manner.
The four-engine C-17 can haul an 85-ton payload and
fly as far as 2,400 nautical miles without refueling, according to the Air
Force. It features a rear cargo door through which vehicles and pallets can be