It does not relieve the Navy of its responsibility to leave the Navy Yard in an environmentally safe and clean condition.
It does not relieve the Navy of its responsibility to work with the city to develop flexible re-use guidelines, such as the master lease to bring new businesses to the Navy Yard.
It does not relieve the Navy of its responsibility to help the workers at the Navy Yard find real jobs.
Now there is a new contract - the Republican "Contract with America," which Newt Gingrich wants to impose.
Under this new contract, cleanup of the Navy Yard will be halted or severely delayed. The number of workers participating in retraining programs will be seriously reduced. Federal funding that allows the city to create business plans and make infrastructure improvements at the Navy Yard will dry up.
If adopted, the Contract with America will mean that our effort to attract business and create good jobs at the Navy Yard will be dead on arrival. The yard workers won the Cold War, but Newt's contract will leave them out in the cold.
Well before the Kennedy is scheduled to leave, Westinghouse Corp. and Garvey Precision machines committed to setting up shop at the Navy Yard - creating 200 jobs. On top of that, the city's Office of Defense Conversion has stated that as many as 60 companies have expressed serious interest in moving into the Navy Yard.
However, without proper environmental cleanup, a major shipbuilder or an established private company like Westinghouse will not locate at the Navy Yard. Without adequate retraining, many workers will be unable to get new skills and new jobs. Without needed investment funds, critical infrastructure improvements will not be made.
We cannot sit by while Gingrich and his Republican foot soldiers set out to kill our vision of a new future for the Navy Yard. We must fight these cuts. While it will not be easy, I intend to mobilize my colleagues from both parties to blunt this attack.
Philadelphia is not asking for creation of another government entitlement for the Navy Yard. We do not fight a futile battle for weapons systems we don't need, just to turn national defense into a jobs program. We are merely asking that the Navy fulfill the terms of its contract with the generations of men and women who dedicated their lives to the Navy.