Deadline approaches as Air Force waits additional money for Tyndall repairs

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - "We are sitting 201 days without solving these problems," said Senator Rick Scott at Tyndall Air Force Base Monday morning.

The clock is ticking as Tyndall awaits money requested by Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson to continue repairs to the base. Without it, Tyndall will have to cut operations which could negatively impact the recovery of the base.

Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis said, "I still look at where we're at--we're at Tyndall Air Force Base Tenant Command supporting here first Air Force. National security issues are in debate here, and we have not seen a single action on behalf of Washington."

The deadline for Wilson's $4 billion request is this Wednesday.

Officials say Tyndall Air Force Base makes up one-third of the local economy making its survival crucial to the local area.

According to Air Force representatives, in 2017 Tyndall employed more than 5,000 government personnel, 1,100 of whom were civilians.

Bay County Commissioner Philip "Griff" Griffitts said, "It is such a vital piece of Bay County that we... that's part of the reason that we are such a strong defense-minded community".

One name, in particular, was brought up several times during the press conference.

"There is one person standing in the way of getting the support that we need to rebuild Bay County, all of Florida and rebuilt Tyndall. His name is Chuck Schumer," said Senator Scott.

Griffitts added, "I encourage Senator Schumer to come down and visit. I'll buy his plane ticket."

But as many Florida leaders have said before: "This is not about politics. Every citizen in this county is important, Puerto Rico is important, Florida is important, every place that has a disaster is important and let's treat everyone the same," said Senator Scott.

Congress returns to session this week.

Senator Chuck Schumer spoke about the issue on the Senate floor Monday saying in part, "This needs to be a top legislative priority over the next few weeks... everyone knows why Senate Republicans have blocked our proposals. And that is because President Trump has shown a borderline obsessive hostility to the people of Puerto Rico. I urge my colleagues: let's put politics aside. Let's provide disaster relief for every, every American who needs it."

You can watch his entire speech here.



 
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