LIMA — A hugely bipartisan vote Thursday in the House Armed Services Committee gave the community some good news about continuing Abrams tank production.The committee passed by a 56-5 vote the Fiscal Year National Defense Authorization Act, which includes $181 million to keep minimal production of the tank program (33 tanks) running through 2014 at Joint Systems Manufacturing Center. The bill still must be passed by the full House and the Senate as well as be included in appropriation bills.Mayor David Berger characterized the progress as welcome change of direction for a facility officials feared was seeing its last days.“We have a lot of work to do, but this is timely and positive,” Berger said. “We’ve had some push back to the president’s proposal in a very bipartisan way.”The Pentagon wanted to shutter production of the tanks for three years. If the funding remains in the authorization and appropriation legislation, it would mean only one year of those original three years would be without funding.The Pentagon has said it has enough tanks and wants to shutter production to save money. Community leaders have publicly expressed concern than a stall in production would ultimately mean shuttering the facility, which is owned by the U.S. Army and operated by General Dynamics.Berger chairs Task Force LIMA, the community group advocating for the JSMC. The group met Thursday and heard the good news. The task force and other advocates in Congress and the military community have said shutting down and then starting back up Abrams production would cost more in the long run than keeping minimal production.Shrinking the gap helps, Berger said.“It makes that argument (of halting production for a time) even less viable,” Berger said. The Senate is expected to take up defense authorization matters May 22. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati, sits on the committee.You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.