Armed Services Committee Defies White House, Approves
The Senate Armed Services Committee voted Thursday 13-11 to
authorize $1.75 billion for the embattled F-22 Raptor program, as
well as providing $438.9 million to continue development of the
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter alternate engine. President Obama has
threatened to veto the Defense Authorization Bill if those items
are included in the final version.
Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) said that the bill still
largely reflects the wishes of the President and Secretary of
Defense. In a news release, Levin said "This is a solid bipartisan
bill that supports the men and women of the armed forces, both
active and reserve, and their families, and provides them with the
pay, benefits, equipment, and training that they need. I want to
commend Senator McCain for his steadfast support throughout the
markup process and for his commitment to our national
But the funding for both the Raptor and the JSF Alternative
Engine program could produce a showdown with the White House over
As ANN has previously reported, Defense Secretary Robert Gates
has asked to reduce the number of Raptors built to 187. But some in
Congress think the U.S. Armed Services need more of the stealthy
aircraft, and also have mulled exporting them to other countries.
That would require an additional Act of Congress.
The House Armed Services Committee had already approved
additional money for both the F-22 and the JSF alternative engine,
prompting the veto threat.
The New York Times reports that the SASC also included nine more
FA/-18 Hornets than had been included in the Defense Department
Both the House and Senate versions of the bill will have to go
through their respective full appropriations committees, where
members are likely to come under increased pressure from the White
House to kill the programs.