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The Associated Press November 4, 2011, 7:32AM ET

Aerospace industry ramps up 3Q lobbying

A trade group for aerospace and defense companies ran up a four-fold increase in its lobbying bill in the third quarter as it pressed Congress and federal agencies during a time when planned defense spending cuts are gathering steam, according to a recent disclosure report.

The Aerospace Industries Association of America spent $886,814 on lobbying during the July-September period, according to its Oct. 14 filing with the House Clerk's office. A year earlier it spent $213,684.

The filing doesn't say which issues drove the new lobbying. But slower defense spending, and possibly cuts, have gotten the industry's attention.

A bipartisan committee in Congress is trying to find at least $1.2 trillion in overall spending cuts. If it fails to do so by Nov. 23 or if Congress rejects its plan, then automatic, across-the-board cuts of $1.2 trillion kick in, with half coming from defense. That would be on top of defense cuts of at least $450 billion that are already planned over the coming decade.

Besides defense spending, the group lobbied on spending for space exploration as well as space defense issues. It also lobbied on missile defense and the military space budget, as well as NASA funding.

Another lobbying topic was a tax credit for research and development spending.

Besides Congress, the group lobbied the Commerce, Defense and Transportation departments, the FAA and NASA.

The group represents U.S. companies including Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin Corp., General Dynamics Corp., United Technologies Corp., and B/E Aerospace Inc.

Members with ties to foreign contractors also support the group, including BAE Systems Inc., the American arm of British defense company BAE Systems PLC, and Rolls-Royce North America Inc., a unit of the British aircraft engine company.

Its lobbyists included Cord Sterling, a former senate aide for military matters, and Michael Berger, an aide who has worked on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Richard Efford, a former staff member for the House Appropriations Committee.

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