Federal legislation introduced Thursday would ensure domestic performances by military demonstration teams such as the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will be prioritized over international performances should the teams resume performing.

The Thunderbirds, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Army Golden Knights have been banned from performing at airshows due to federal budget cuts that took effect earlier this year. The cuts have caused a number of airshows to cancel the events entirely. The Atlantic City Airshow on June 26 was scheduled to have a performance by the U.S. Army Golden Knights but will go on as planned with a lineup of civilian acts, organizers have said.

The legislation called the Aviation Teams Helping our Municipalties’ Economies Act of 2013 was introduced by U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, who noted that events like the Atlantic City Airshow translate into millions in tourism dollars.

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“While grounded for the 2013 season, it is my hope that these teams will not be on the runway for too long,” LoBiondo said in a statement. “When they do once again take off, I think it is important for U.S. military demonstration teams to focus on air shows here at home, which are both a sense of great pride and local tremendous economic boost.”

The legislation would put a two-year moratorium on the Department of Defense using taxpayer dollars for performances at shows abroad.

Contact Jennifer Bogdan:

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