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House Armed Services Committee Member Asks For F-35 Operational Date

Attempted To Tie Some Funding To The Announcement Of A Date Certain

A Republican member of the House Armed Services Committee was thwarted on Wednesday in an attempt to tie funding for the F-35 JSF to a guaranteed operational date from the Defense Department.

Representative Todd Akin (R-MO) (pictured) offered an amendment to an appropriations bill during a markup session in the HASC. His amendment would have withheld half of the procurement funds if the Pentagon did not give Congress a firm operational date for the JSF by March of 2013.

The amendment was opposed by every other member of the committee. The Hill reports that Akin said it was one that members had been told to vote against the measure, though he did not say who had made that suggestion. "“In the markup yesterday (Wednesday) I offered a number of amendments to ensure that we are getting the squeal out of our nickels in the Defense Department. The F-35 program is the most expensive program in DOD history and has repeatedly faced cost overruns and broken schedules. I offered an amendment to hold the program accountable and demand transparency. Unfortunately, the committee significantly watered down my amendment," he said in a news release.

Instead, members backed a substitute offered by Washington State Democrat Adam Smith, who said withholding procurement funding would send a bad message to foreign governments who are partners on the $1.5 trillion program. Some have said they will pull their support if design and other problems persist with the Lightning II.

Akin was the only "no" vote on the Smith substitute.

FMI: http://armedservices.house.gov

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