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ACTION ALERT: Stop Funding for the F-22


July 6, 2009
Matt Holland / TrueMajority / USAction & The New York Times

Despite the objections of the Air Force, the Secretary of Defense, and you, the Senate is on track to pass a defense authorization bill that includes billions in extra spending on F-22 fighter jets we don't need. The full Senate will begin review of the bill right after this week's recess, and if we convince them to take the planes out, we can avoid an ugly confrontation.

http://www.truemajority.org/nof22

ACTION ALERT: Stop Funding for the F-22
Matt Holland / TrueMajority / USAction

Despite the objections of the Air Force, the Secretary of Defense, and you, the Senate is on track to pass a defense authorization bill that includes billions in extra spending on F-22 fighter jets we don't need. (1) We were really angry when we got the news, and we weren't the only ones: President Obama has announced that he might veto the entire authorization bill if the planes aren't taken out. (2)

But there's another chance for our leaders to do the right thing. The full Senate will begin review of the bill right after this week's recess, and if we convince them to take the planes out, we can avoid an ugly confrontation.
and demand that they keep these wasteful warplanes out of the bill so the president doesn't have to.

The Letter
Dear Senator,

Unless you do something about it, the FY10 Defense Authorization bill will include billions of dollars in extra funding for unnecessary F-22s. I am extremely angry that both the House and the Senate Armed Services Committees have perpetuated this error. And I am not alone: President Obama has announced that he might veto the entire bill if these planes aren't taken out.

You have the power to avoid this conflict. The full Senate will take up the Defense Authorization bill soon after the 4th of July recess - and I'm writing to ask you to work with your colleagues to ensure NO F-22s are included. I'm counting on you to take these wasteful warplanes out of the Defense Authorization bill - so the President doesn't have to.

Why the added F-22s have been allowed to remain in the bill this long is a mystery. But the weapons builders are a powerful lobby in DC, and sometimes have influence regular citizens don't know about. Fortunately, we've got some powerful allies in our corner too, including President Obama and his Secretary of Defense who called these planes 'a big problem' for the Pentagon. (3)

Now the fight moves to the Senate floor, where we've got plans to work with the president's team and the Pentagon to make sure that the final Senate bill does not include these unneeded planes. You can help by sending an e-mail to your senator right now and asking him or her to get on board.

Matt Holland is the Online Director of TrueMajority / USAction

1. www.nytimes.com/2009/06/26/business/26defense.html
2. www.whitehouse.gov/omb/assets/sap_111/saphr2647h_20090624.pdf
3. www.sify.com/news/politics/fullstory.php?a=jgwc5tciffc&title=Gates%3A_Money_included_for_F-22_jet_a_'big_problem'



With Vote on F-22 Jet,
Panel Defies Veto Threat

Christopher Drew / New York Times

(June 26, 2009) — Despite a White House threat to veto any bill that includes money for more F-22 fighter jets, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 13-11 on Thursday to authorize $1.75 billion for seven more planes. It also asked the Pentagon to explore creating a less-classified version that could be sold to Japan and other allies.

The vote came as the House approved a defense spending bill that would also keep building the planes. The actions set up a larger showdown over the Obama administration’s efforts to cut costly defense programs and reshape military aviation.
The Senate committee also joined the House in voting to develop an alternative engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, another program that the White House wants to eliminate.

And the Senate panel voted to let the Navy build nine more F/A-18 strike fighters that the White House had trimmed from next year’s budget.

Both the Senate and House bills have to go through appropriations committees, and White House aides are likely to step up the pressure on Congressional leaders to get behind the cuts that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced in April.

While Congress has supported plans to trim huge missile defense and satellite programs, it has balked at the idea of betting as heavily on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as the administration suggests.

Mr. Gates has said the Pentagon should limit production of the F-22, which has advanced stealth technology, to 187 planes. He also wants to accelerate testing of the F-35, which also has stealth features, to become the new workhorse.

But lawmakers from states like Georgia and Connecticut, which have major F-22 production facilities, have led the fight to save the F-22, along with Republicans and some Democrats who fear that any delays in fielding the F-35 could lead to a shortage of capable fighters.

Air National Guard officials also have lobbied for the F-22, hoping that continued production will enable several of their squadrons to fly the plane.

And even though the Air Force has endorsed the plan to halt production, one top general, John D. W. Corley, recently wrote that building only 187 F-22s “puts execution of our current national military strategy at high risk in the near to mid-term.”

Still, Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Senator John McCain of Arizona, the panel’s top Republican, both voted on Thursday against building more F-22s.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

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