Sen. Duckworth opposes cuts to 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria
U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth said she will oppose cuts to any of the specialized positions at the 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria.
The Air Force announced plans to decommission two units in Peoria over the next two years.
“I would never support the loss of those slots in Illinois, but I’m happy to take a look at what we need to do to keep the unit’s mission. If we need to adjust it, then let’s adjust it, but let’s not lose these highly trained individuals who help keep us safe every day,” Duckworth said in an interview on WGLT’s Sound Ideas and WCBU’s All Things Peoria.
Duckworth, a Democrat from Illinois, said she's negotiating with the Defense Department to possibly give the 200-plus airmen and women another mission if the units can't be saved.
The Air Force staffing needs have reduced for special warfare operations because of technology advances.
Duckworth, a U.S. Army helicopter pilot who lost both legs in her Black Hawk helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade while serving in the Iraq War, recalled flying out of Peoria with the 106th Aviation Battalion.
“Peoria is my second home, and often times I probably woke people up on a Saturday morning flying my helicopters over their houses practicing my maneuvers,” Duckworth quipped.
Ukraine has started using cluster bombs the U.S. provided to help Ukrainians in their war against Russia.
Duckworth said she has reservations about the weapons, but she advised the Biden administration to approve Ukraine's request.
Duckworth noted she and U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., have been advising President Biden as two of the remaining combat veterans in the Senate.
“It wasn’t an easy decision, but we can’t lose sight of the fact that Russia has been using these munitions. Understand that the cluster munitions have been dropped in Ukraine for quite a while now by the Russians,” Duckworth said.
Duckworth said the U.S. cluster bombs have a much lower dud rate of less than 2%, compared to the 40% rate of the munitions the Russians have used in the war. The bomblets that don't go off immediately can essentially became land mines when they are discovered years later.
Duckworth said Ukraine will have to rebuild up its depleted military before she it should be allowed to join NATO.
Supreme Court ethics
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday endorsed a binding code of ethics for the Supreme Court.
The party-line vote (11-10 Democrats) came after several reports of justices accepting lavish gifts from Republican donors.
Duckworth said she believes Americans were astounded to find out Supreme Court justices didn't already have a formal code. Duckworth said she supports the reforms even if there's ultimately no enforcement.
“The thing about sunlight, it’s a great thing to shine the spotlight and open things up so that people know what is happening,” Duckworth said.
The bill would require the justices to disclose gifts, travel and income and sets new transparency rules when there's a potential conflict of interest in a case before the court.
Republican critics say Democrats are trying to delegitimize the court.