BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - An influential member of Congress was at Keesler Air Force Base on Tuesday afternoon. Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California is the Majority Whip. That means he has a lot of power and influence on the hill.
South Mississippi Rep. Steven Palazzo asked McCarthy to come to Keesler and see for himself exactly what the C-130 J aircraft do.
The Air Force has proposed moving 10 C-130 J aircraft to a base in Arkansas. The congressional delegation in Mississippi thinks that is a terrible idea. Military officials claim the move would save a lot of money in the long run, but they have provided few specifics.
After his 90 minute tour around the base, McCarthy told the media he likes what he saw.
"I think the best place is to keep it right here. I see capabilities of expanding here is what I see," McCarthy said.
Palazzo and Sen. Roger Wicker have been very vocal at congressional hearings about this proposal.
Palazzo says he is not buying into the argument that this is a cost saving idea. In fact, it is projected that the process of moving the aircraft to Arkansas would have a price tag in the millions.
Palazzo said for two and a half years, he and his colleagues from Mississippi have tried to convince the Air Force that Keesler is the right place for the airplanes.
Now, McCarthy is on their side as well.
McCarthy said he plans to add his voice to the many who oppose this idea. As to whether that will make a difference, nobody knows right now.
The Air Force may have a final decision on this issue before the end of the year.
It does need to be pointed out that whatever happens with the C-130 J's will have no affect on the Hurricane Hunter aircraft. They will be staying at Keesler.