Ignoring Obama’s veto threat, Congress approves more funding for Marietta’s F-22

Updated at 5:15 p.m. Thursday.

Congress moved to add more funding for the Marietta-made F-22 Raptor on Thursday, setting the stage for a bruising fight with the White House — which threatened only 24 hours earlier to veto a major defense funding bill over the issue.

In the Senate, the Armed Services Committee finished closed-door negotiations by accepting an amendment by U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss to add $1.75 billion for seven more of the Lockheed Martin stealth fighters. The measure now goes to the full chamber.

In a separate action, the U.S. House this afternoon passed a $550 billion defense bill with an added $369 million in additional spending on the F-22. The House measure also includes language that would permit the sale of a different, less potent version of the fighter to other countries such as Japan.

Both actions occurred less than a day after the White House issued a memo detailing its objections to the House bill. The additional F-22 spending — for parts — was first on the list:

The Administration strongly objects to the provisions in the bill authorizing $369 million in advanced procurement funds for F-22s in FY 2011. The collective judgment of the Service Chiefs and Secretaries of the military departments suggests that a final program of record of 187 F-22s is sufficient to meet operational requirements. If the final bill presented to the President contains this provision, the President’s senior advisors would recommend a veto.

The emphasis is in the original. The veto threat is the first of the Obama administration, and reflects a strategic shift backed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates away from expensive weapons designed for large-scale, conventional warfare and toward simpler systems geared for “assymetrical” conflicts like those in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The House bill includes $130 billion in funding to support operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere — which makes some wonder whether Obama would carry out his veto threat.

“Is he bluffing? I wish I was clairvoyant and could answer that question for you,” Gingrey said by phone, shortly before the House vote. “I would hope that he’s bluffing. But if he’s not, I think he’s making a bad mistake — let me put it that way — for the defense of this country. I think he’s making a huge mistake.

“If he vetoes this defense authorization program for 2010 on the basis of that, then he has got that wrapped around his neck and on his shoulders. He and no one else can take responsibility for killing that program,” the Marietta congressman said.

The fight is over spending, jobs and military philosophy.

“In the past several months, Air Force leaders have consistently stated before Congress and to the media that they have a requirement for additional F-22s beyond the 187 that have already been purchased. Repeatedly, military leaders have confirmed that the decision to limit funding to 187 planes is driven by budgetary decisions, not military requirements,” said Chambliss in a prepared statement.

“It is regrettable that the administration needs to issue a veto threat for funding intended to meet a real national security requirement that has been consistently confirmed by our uniformed military leaders.”

The same press release quotes U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson: “The federal government must tighten its belt in these tough economic times just as Americans have to do, but we must also maintain a strong national defense in order to protect our country. This plane is vital to 21st century American military superiority.”

The House could direct even more money toward the F-22, Gingrey said — perhaps for as many as 20 more planes in a second supplemental defense bill.

Democratic support for the F-22 in Congress is considered substantial, but not overwhelming. And remember that U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is one of those advocating a cap on the F-22 program.

This is posted at airforce-magazine.com:

House Appropriations defense subcommittee chairman John Murtha (D-Pa.) supports further buys of the F-22 and is optimistic that more will be bought, but he said that it will take some wheeling and dealing in Congress to make it happen.

Speaking with defense reporters Wednesday in Washington, D.C., Murtha said, “I think we can reach a compromise” on Capitol Hill that would allow the F-22 to go forward. Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its defense panel, “feels very strongly about it, and I do, too,” Murtha added.

Another defense blog, Chandler’s Watch, has this from the same meeting with Murtha:

Three of the most senior House appropriators are planning to discuss exporting Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor fighter jet to the Japanese government, which wants badly to buy the stealth plane.

Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), the chairman of the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee, said Wednesday that he intends to meet in the coming days with Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) and Rep. Bill Young (Fla.), Murtha’s GOP counterpart on the Defense subcommittee, to discuss lifting the export ban on the F-22.

The key player in that briefing will be Obey, who in 1998 wrote the legislation that bans the exports of the F-22 mainly to keep secret the aircraft’s radar-evading stealth technology. Obey has not budged since, and it’s unclear whether he is willing to relent.

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119 comments Add your comment

BlackSingleMomEngineer

June 25th, 2009
1:19 pm

Obama, you just received your last vote from me. The F-22 is needed! You just want to push Georgia’s unemployment rate up to 15%.

ab

June 25th, 2009
1:22 pm

Well then why did you vote for him to begin with BlackSingleMomEngineer? Wasn’t a big secret this would happen!

Leon

June 25th, 2009
1:26 pm

If the MILITARY no less says they don’t need an aircraft that’s never flown a single combat mission, shouldn’t we take there word for it?

Reality of Politics

June 25th, 2009
1:29 pm

And this surprises you? Georgia is a Republican stronghold that didn’t vote for Obama. This administration has a track record of protecting special interests in and sending money to states that went for Obama or are swing states…..did you think he’d treat Georgia any different?

Getting re-elected is the focus…NOT NATIONAL SECURITY! Nuff said

FBHO

June 25th, 2009
1:32 pm

Worst President ever.

Jim Callihan

June 25th, 2009
1:34 pm

This may be the one and only time I’ll say this – OBAMA NAILED IT!!! Good Job.

Now…if we can just get him turned around on the other “umpteen trillions” of dollars of corporate welfare plans.

Bubba

June 25th, 2009
1:35 pm

Let’s hope the next conflict isn’t with China or Russia.

Kelly

June 25th, 2009
1:35 pm

“BlackSingleMomEngineer”, are you saying that we should keep building F-22s because it keep people employed or we should keep it because the military say it is necessary? If you are saying we should keep it because it employs workers, then that explains why you don’t agree with President Obama.

Bo Chambliss LOBBYIST

June 25th, 2009
1:39 pm

Daddy, Saxby, is making a lot of money on this one.

Tim Taylor

June 25th, 2009
1:43 pm

Yall voted for him!!!

EngineerArt

June 25th, 2009
1:45 pm

The foresight that this President lacks is beyond comprehension.

NO-Bama

June 25th, 2009
1:46 pm

All you idiots that voted for the Kenyan – now you want to complain? LMAO

csquared

June 25th, 2009
1:48 pm

damn right we voted for him and seems like pork is on the menu for repubs this time. If their guy, since Gates is a holdover from last admin and the generals running the pentagon say we don’t need the daggone plane, why would we keep throwing money at it? just for folks to continue high dollar jobs? look what that got UAW and the big three automakers. Reasonable wages don’t include triple overtime and nearly 6 figure salaries for welding and putting on bolts. Or making engneering drawings on computers.

Richard

June 25th, 2009
1:49 pm

Kelly,

Didn’t Obama support GM financially just to keep people employed?

F. Derrick Hall

June 25th, 2009
1:50 pm

I think this is a bad move by Obama. Not only will fear-mongering neocons jump at the opportunity to say he’s weak on national defense, but it really is a piddling small amount of $ compared to the hundreds of billions given out to rich bankers and CEOs.

Brian22

June 25th, 2009
1:50 pm

“If you rule the skies, you rule the battlefield”. Let’s hope we’re not fighting China or Russia next.

DannyX

June 25th, 2009
1:50 pm

Look here Marietta, there are no special rights in this case. You don’t have an entitlement to this worthless waste of taxpayer money. If Congress and Obama cave in on this, believe me, there will be one giant Tea Party in good ol’ Cobb County.

csquared

June 25th, 2009
1:50 pm

since raptor is the greatest thing since the AK47 in some folks minds, why haven’t we used one on Osama Bin Laden yet? or are we still trying to figure out what cave he’s hiding in? lotta good those planes will do in the caves, right?

YO_DOG

June 25th, 2009
1:51 pm

I voted for Obama

We don’t need no jet!

He needs to help our people more and let yall rich white people get real jobs where you have to work

Dr Soul

June 25th, 2009
1:51 pm

Even sadder, his lack of real knowledge and intelligence to lead this counrty really undermines his ability to select advisors that have any better experience or intelligence.. he lied his way to the WH and now that he has slid in, he promptly became a true ‘dyed in the wool’ politician in the worst way.. his credibility has completely left in every way and his naive existence is a joke to this nation

AH

June 25th, 2009
1:53 pm

Way to get that red meat out there Jim. Good Job, don’t write an original though provoking article just fall back on the old tried and true red meat stories.

Next time can we have an actually story? Hey I heard Obama had a huge special recently on something called “Health Care Reform”, or perhaps that silly little “Cap and Trade” vote tomorrow might be worth writing about.

Bo Chambliss LOBBYIST

June 25th, 2009
1:54 pm

Dr Soul

Don’t talk about my Daddy that way, he is just doing what the Lobbyist pay him to do.

quiet observer

June 25th, 2009
1:55 pm

The reason the F22 has not been used in Iraq and Afghanistan is because those countries have no Air Force to speak of, and thier Anti Aircraft systems were archaic at best, and easily destroyed with conventional aircraft.
Just wait and see what happens when we have a problem with China and North Korea. That’s what that plane and F35 were designed for. guess what, the conflict is coming sooner than you think. I promise you China will back the Koreans, and they have more money than God right now, and we don’t even know for sure what kind of weapons they currently have in development.
Way to go, Obama. You just cut our throats before the shots were fired. This guy trully is a disaster in all aspects of his administration. He’s costing Americans mores than he promised to create (none which have to pass, by the way), he’s spending more money than we can ever make up for, taxes are going, and the folks who are getting government help for the right reasons are losing benefits because he doesn’t have a clue, while the parasites are living better than hard working Americans because Obama is commited to special interests, pet projects and vote buying schemes.

bad idea

June 25th, 2009
1:57 pm

The F22 is a replacement for an airplane designed in the early 70’s (F15). Most were built in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Their wings are cracked and stressed. None of us wants to get on an airplane more than 5 years old at the airport and we expect Air Force pilots to get in a 30 year old plane and pull 6 G’s. That’s a bunch of baloney. The F22 is definitely needed in the Air Force. Maybe not exactly this moment, but we can not predict what will happen tommorrow. Obama is leaving us with no options. He wants to spend money on giveaways but leave us unprotected. BAD idea. Repeat – BAD idea. Vote him out next term and definitely vote out the liberal congress that is with him.

FDH

June 25th, 2009
1:58 pm

and frankly we don’t need the F-22 to whup Russia or China (not that war with either of them is a likely scenario in the next 40 years anyway).
seriously, when is enough enough when it comes to defense spending? we spend more than the rest of the planet COMBINED on our military. and we’re in the unique geographic position of having 2 oceans to protect us from invasion (not to mention all the militant police and heavily-armed populace)
for just ONE YEAR, i’d like to see half of the defense budget spent on something useful, like education or developing clean energy or better battery technology. i seriously doubt “Red Dawn” will happen.

Clay

June 25th, 2009
1:58 pm

It’s rich folks who provide jobs. How many jobs have poor people created?

DontTreadOnMe

June 25th, 2009
1:58 pm

Yes, better to spend money educating and caring for millions of illegals and deadbeats.

With each passing day, Jimmy Carter is more secure in the knowledge that he will not die as the worst President of this country.

csquared

June 25th, 2009
1:58 pm

dr soul, the how do you explain GATES, which was SecDef under W? moron

Dan

June 25th, 2009
2:00 pm

First and formost the respobsibility of the executive office is defense of the country, contrary to the bleeding hearts that want the president to “help people” which would be the job of local politicians. This case is one of the few logical moves O has had, actually listening to the Pentagon and not letting congress play their games. Now lets hope the money is diverted to a defense initiative that the pentagon actually needs and not to some other wasteful social program

Road Scholar

June 25th, 2009
2:03 pm

Dr Soul: “…his lack of real knowledge and intelligence …”

He’s alot smarter than you. And you’re a doctor?

So, I hear and read the conservatives want our president to be more forceful (including directly causing regime change) in Iran, and for the F-22. I’ve got a solution for Iran.

First all warmongers and chest beaters line up for your tattoo which reads:”Do not return to sender!” Then we’ll give you a gun, and a parachute and drop you inside Iran to “Make it happen!” Heck, it may be cooler there than it is now in Atlanta!

Arthur

June 25th, 2009
2:03 pm

The U.S. can rule the skies with existing aircraft for the next two decades.

FDH

June 25th, 2009
2:04 pm

GREAT argument, clay. you’re obviously a student of the “conservative talk radio” school of economics. let me guess- you also believe that if you distributed all the world’s wealth evenly among the population, the same small # of people would end up with all the $. you know, all those really smart, hard-working people like Paris Hilton.

csquared

June 25th, 2009
2:04 pm

dan, i agree with u. we don’t need a plane in afghanistan, what we need is enough boots on the ground ARMORED U enough so some pissant with an IED looking to make a name in his village can’t take out guys out. Planes no, armor and intel yep. and for those folk that really think China’s waiting to take us over, look around, they can BUY us out and foreclose just about anytime they want. fighting without the bloodshed.

Dr Soul

June 25th, 2009
2:08 pm

To ‘csquared’…you answered your own question, cupcake..!!!
To Road Scholar…obviously, you cannot read nor interpret well..’his intelligence or lack thereof to lead’…

Hal

June 25th, 2009
2:08 pm

Also, the original F-15 was designed in the 70’s, but most of its more advanced variants (the ones we actually use, like the Strike Eagle) were designed and built much later. Their airframes are perfectly fine and the F-15 is still superior to most every other fighter on earth.

DontTreadOnMe

June 25th, 2009
2:08 pm

Clay – Poor peopel provide plenty of jobs. Government jobs that adminster to educating them, feeding them, providing medical care for them and now, paying for their mortgages and new cars. It makes me feel all Hopey and Changey?

csquared

June 25th, 2009
2:11 pm

the doctor is out. obviously

Hal

June 25th, 2009
2:11 pm

So what’s your brilliant solution, DontTreadOnMe? You’ve already said you think spending money to educate the poor is a bad idea (even though all statistical data, historical fact, and common sense says you’re DEAD WRONG). So what’s your idea?

Kelly

June 25th, 2009
2:11 pm

Richard, you asked “Didn’t Obama support GM financially just to keep people employed?” This is where people take a topic and twist it to fit their opinion and try to justify it with something that is totally unrelated. The question that you should have asked yourself is should the U.S. continue to pay for a program that the military leadership have indicated is not needed any longer?

Whether you agree or not, you cannot compare this to GM because that bailout was to keep the ENTIRE company from going out of business. No where have I read that Lockhead will go out of business if they stop making the F-22. To me, there is no comparison. I trust the opinion of the military leaders on military issues and they say it is not needed.

You do know that we have a newer version with some of the same technologies from the F-22, it’s called the F-35.

Hal

June 25th, 2009
2:15 pm

F-35 is a cheaper but more versatile plane. it’s not designed for overwhelming air superiority like the F-22, but it’s a lot more practical for the types of things our military does these days.

Keeping It Real

June 25th, 2009
2:22 pm

Obama belongs in prison, and so does Vick!

Timus

June 25th, 2009
2:28 pm

Lockheed was charging the government $100 million MORE than what they initially bid. They were robbing the government. I live in Cobb and I mourn the loss of jobs but Lockheed was JUST WRONG!!!

Andre

June 25th, 2009
2:32 pm

If the military says the plane isn’t needed. Don’t get mad at Obama. Get mad at the Pentagon. I’m sorry the jobs were lost, but if they’re charging $100 million more than what was needed in the very beginning. That’s just highway robbery.

pcj,

June 25th, 2009
2:32 pm

All one needs to do is look at history. The great military minds and government official thought it would be a great idea to eliminate much of our military after WWII. They actually destroyed plans and naval vessels. I ask you what happened after that? Oops, we needed that stuff after all, Korean war, Vietnam, and the cold war.

The Commander in Chief has a responsibility to this nation to make sure we have the proper readiness and defenses should the circumstance require. We learned that deterrence is a great ally to have, maybe we should scale back a little, but we need these programs to protect the sovereignty of these United States of America. IMHO

Kelly

June 25th, 2009
2:33 pm

Hal I agree with you totally. I was not trying to imply that they were the same aircraft but rather the F-35 can be used for some of the same things that the F-22 is used for. It is my understanding that the F-35 is second in air-to-air capability to the F-22 but the F-35 is better in air-to-ground than the F-22.

And yes, the price of the F-35 is cheaper. Not arguing which plane is better, just arguing if the F-22 is still needed.

DontTreadOnMe

June 25th, 2009
2:33 pm

Hal, I’m not brilliant by a long shot. There were brilliant guys however who wrote this thing called the Constitution. You sound brilliant, so point out where in that piece of paper it says there is a right to education, health care, a home or a car. I’m pretty sure there is wording in that piece of paper though about defense of this country and its borders.

Here’s a hint on my “idea”…

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Timus

June 25th, 2009
2:33 pm

I forgot to mention $100 million MORE PER AIRCRAFT!!!!………Bad Obama! Why would he have a problem with that???

Hankman

June 25th, 2009
2:37 pm

Isn’t it wonderful that we’re in America where dumb opinions fall under the 1st amendment. Kelly is right on point. I’ve worked in the aircraft industry for 30 years. Take it from me folks, politics out of it, it’s just good business.

Reader

June 25th, 2009
2:39 pm

The military recommended that we no longer need to pay for this program. Why are you mad at Obama? He just save this country a bunch of money. Spend wisely.

DontTreadOnMe

June 25th, 2009
2:41 pm

F-35 is cheaper, for now, because of the projected production size and the cost sharing with international customers.