PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Pittsburgh included more than just politicking.
He also caught some of Saturday’s NCAA Tournament action at CONSOL Energy Center.
But earlier in the day, he met with Sen. Bob Casey who is among the lawmakers fighting the planned closure of the 911th Airlift Wing.
While the Vice President appeared to enjoy marching in the parade and greeting Pittsburghers, it wasn’t all fun. Vice President Biden agreed to a private meeting with Sen. Casey at the 911th.
In a phone call with Sen. Casey Saturday night, he told KDKA’s Paul Martino that he gave the Vice President an earful about why it doesn’t make sense to close the base.
“I talked about the fact that if they closed this base, it will cost the federal government money,” said Sen. Casey. “Potentially hundreds of millions by one estimate; $400 million to be able to recreate what’s there.”
Sen. Casey says it’s the second time he’s spoken to Biden about saving the base. He’s also lobbied the President.
According to Sen. Casey, the 911th’s efficiency should be enough to spare it from Pentagon budget cuts and save as many as 2,500 jobs in our region.
“In terms of cost savings, in terms of efficiency and the skill level and experience, and therefore the national security value of the 911th, the Pentagon should not close it,” said Sen. Casey.
But Sen. Casey admits that he’s gotten no firm commitment from either the President or the Vice President.