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Ala. Senator Blocks Pentagon Nominee Over Tanker

Washington, D.C. – Republican Sen. Richard Shelby is holding up President Barack Obama's pick to lead Pentagon acquisitions because he wants assurances that the nominee won't change the criteria in a heated competition for a $35 billion refueling tanker contract.

Shelby and other Alabama lawmakers are worried the Pentagon might award the contract based strictly on price without considering additional capabilities.

They have a stake in the fight because Northrop Grumman Corp. would assemble the plane in Mobile, Ala. The company is offering a larger, more expensive plane than its competitor, Boeing Co.

Shelby alone can't block the nomination of Ashton Carter as a Defense Department undersecretary, but he can delay his confirmation.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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