After a hammering from Democrats over his stance on subsidies to Airbus and Boeing, Dino Rossi has clarified his position.
In a response to my follow-up question, the Republican Senate candidate said today the Pentagon SHOULD take into account subsidies to Airbus by European governments when deciding which of the two companies win a major Air Force contract to build refueling tankers.
On Monday, Rossi told The News Tribune editorial board that subsidies shouldn’t be taken into account, but his campaign explained he was only talking about Boeing subsidies, the subject of a recent World Trade Organization ruling — not Airbus subsidies, which the WTO had previously exposed.
Rossi’s statement today:
I absolutely believe the illegal subsidies received by Airbus should be taken into account when the Air Force makes its decision on the tanker contract. We don’t need a WTO ruling to know that Boeing makes the best plane at the best price and, absent unfair foreign subsidies, would win the tanker contract hands down. That’s what I’ll fight for in the Senate.
He’s essentially siding with Sen. Patty Murray, his Democratic opponent who introduced an amendment today that would require any “unfair competitive advantage” on either side to be weighed in awarding the contract, with the goal of helping Boeing win.
UPDATE: There’s been a barrage of statements since Rossi’s shift:
- Murray and Democrats weighed in to say Rossi must not understand the subsidies issues. The state Democratic Party said Rossi “has shown a frightening lack of understanding on an issue that is of prime importance to Washington state workers” and Murray called it “deeply troubling that he has never bothered to learn about this issue until his own political fortunes were on the line.”
- Democratic members of Congress also jabbed Rossi, prompting his campaign to respond that not only will Rossi fight for the tanker contract, he’ll go one better than the Democrats and “make sure Boeing doesn’t face punitive taxes, massive new health care bills, and the ramifications of eliminating secret ballots from labor union elections.”
- Finally, Murray’s campaign jumped on a Publicola report that Rossi’s campaign declined to weigh in on Murray’s amendment. The amendment isn’t going anywhere for now after Republicans blocked debate on a defense policy bill, which includes the proposed repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”