Obama Reiterates F-22 Veto Threat
Today was supposed to be a critical day for the Obama administration’s efforts to kill the troubled F-22 fighter jet. It goes like this: the Senate is taking up the fiscal 2010 defense authorization, which 13 pro-F-22 Senators on the Armed Services Committee last month used as a vehicle to overturn Defense Secretary Bob Gates’ attempt to cap the program at 187 planes. President Obama says he won’t sign the defense authorization if it has the F-22 in it. And the committee’s leadership, Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), are both F-22 foes, and they’ve been working to strip out the funding for the planes from the bill in a floor vote scheduled for today.
But just now, Levin pulled an amendment that would kill the plane from floor consideration. That probably means he doesn’t have the votes.
At the same time, the White House put out a statement reiterating Obama’s veto threat over the F-22.
The Administration strongly objects to the provisions in the bill authorizing $1.75 billion for seven F-22s in FY 2010. The collective judgment of the Service Chiefs and Secretaries of the military departments determined that a final program of record of 187 F-22s is sufficient to meet operational requirements.
Underlining in the original. (Interesting postscript: the administration is also objecting to congressional reporting requirements in the bill for how money would be spent under the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capabilities Fund, saying telling Congress how the money will be spent prior to the actual spending would “delay the release of vital funds for Pakistan’s counterinsurgency efforts.” So much for oversight.)