The battle over the runway at Air Force One, which has been the target of fierce public and congressional opposition for months, was back on the agenda on Wednesday when Congress returned to Washington.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said that he would hold a House Armed Forces subcommittee hearing next week on the runway’s future.
While there’s a long way to go in getting the runway built, the fight for the future of the airfield has begun.
Congressional opposition has been fierce on the issue, and a bill in the House has stalled for months as well.
The Air Force has proposed $10.3 billion in federal funds for construction of a new runway, but it’s unclear how much of the money will be spent on the new runway.
A bill in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet would cut funding for the runway.
The Air Force also has proposed a $10 billion upgrade of the existing runway that’s been used by Air Force jets to refuel during combat operations.
The proposal has been endorsed by the National Air and Space Museum, and is opposed by the Air Force and many other air force personnel.
House Republicans have tried to move forward with the bill in recent weeks, but some Democrats have blocked the bill, citing concerns over its funding and the proposed runway.
The legislation has stalled on the House floor, and the Pentagon has proposed that the House vote on it next week.
Republicans have also been pushing to replace the Air Combat Command, which oversees Air Force fighter aircraft, with a new command that would be a civilian version of the Air and Marine Command.
The proposed Air Combat System Command, under which the Air Defense and Missile Defense Command would operate, is being backed by the Pentagon and Air Force.
The new command would be overseen by the Secretary of Defense.
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson announced the Air Control Center modernization in April.
She said it would improve the aircraft’s airfield and the Air Mobility Command, a new military headquarters that oversees Air and Missile defense.
But some Democrats say the proposed overhaul is too expensive and will put too much pressure on the Air Forces airfield.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) is pushing to give the AirForce $30 billion for its airfield, a figure that includes funding for a new airfield to house its fighters and a new base for ground-based ballistic missiles.
The Army and Marine Corps have already spent more than $40 billion on upgrades to the Air Base Complex, according to a Congressional Research Service report last year.
A new runway is needed for a future fighter jet program, the Air Power Command, but the Air Command Center modernization is a top priority.
Last week, the House approved a bill that would replace the AECC, the U.S. Air Force’s radar, with the new Joint Electronic Control Center, a system that would track radar, jamming and other threats.
It would replace an AECB with a Joint Operational Electronic Control Control Center.
The bill was introduced by Rep. John Lewis (D) of Georgia and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D), the top Democrat on the Armed Services subcommittee.