President Clinton Wednesday postponed a decision on the proposed closing of 79 military bases, but administration officials predicted that after a day of additional study he would accept the plan today.
Clinton, whose re-election prospects could be damaged by base closings in California, spent time Wednesday afternoon further scrutinizing plans to privatize aircraft maintenance jobs at McClellan Air Force Base near Sacramento, Calif., and Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, aides said.
Clinton wanted to make sure that privatization plans that have been discussed for more than a week would in fact save jobs at McClellan, where 11,000 are employed, and Kelly, where another 15,000 work, said Michael McCurry, the White House press secretary.
“He’s got to work through it,” McCurry said. “He wants real employment numbers.” If Clinton accepts the proposal, McCurry said, it would be “with reluctance.”
Under law, a politically insulated base closings commission recommends a proposal to Clinton, giving him the choice of accepting or rejecting it in total. He must act by Saturday.
In this fourth and final round of closings, California stands to lose 19,372 military and civilian jobs. An additional 22,898 indirect jobs would be lost from declining demand in area service businesses, according to the commission.
Texas would lose 13,381 civilian and military jobs as a result of closures and realignments and 19,476 indirect jobs.
Nationwide, this fourth round of base closures would result in a net loss of 43,742 military and civilian jobs at bases and 49,823 indirect jobs for a total loss of 93,565 jobs.