Shifts on both U.S. Senate and House committees in the 116th Congress have removed or demoted representatives of a Texas aerospace hub from powerful defense-related positions.
Texas, home of Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter facility along with companies including Textron subsidiary Bell, will lose representation on the Senate Armed Services Committee and have the representative of Fort Worth, near Dallas, demoted from chairing the House subcommittee that oversees federal defense spending.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is no longer a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), the group that annually decides Defense Department spending authorization for weapons and programs. Meanwhile, Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), who represents the Fort Worth area near Bell and Lockheed Martin production facilities, dropped to ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee (HAC) panel with the Democrats sweeping into power in the House. In the previous Congress, she chaired the HAC defense panel.
Fort Worth is home to Bell, though V-22 final assembly and UH-1 production is done in Amarillo, Texas. Fort Worth is the U.S. headquarters of Bell commercial helicopters and the advanced Flight Research Facility. Former Rep. Pete Geren, who went on to serve as secretary of the Army, throughout the 1990s pushed for the Army to maintain its fleet of OH-58D Kiowa Warrior armed scout helicopters. The aircraft were able to withstand a technological challenge by the ill-fated Boeing–Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche before finally being retired in 2017.
Sens. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) have joined the senate defense committee.