(July 21) The Senate today took a small step for Pentagon reform and a giant step for fiscal sanity when it voted 58-40 to approve the McCain-Levin amendment.The vote is significant because it affirms the government's ability to stop uneeded weapons programs even when they are firmly entrenched in the American industrial and Congressional base. The bill now goes into conference, where we hope House conferees will follow the Senate's lead and avoid a presidential veto over the issue.
(July 13) Today Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Carl Levin (D-MI) introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010 that would remove $1.7 billion for seven unneeded F-22 Raptor fighter jets. We support the amendment and ask you to as well.
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) and Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS) sent a letter to the Senate asking them to eliminate funding for the F-22s, saying that the funding for the fighters would use “smoke and mirrors” budgeting to procure a fighter that the Pentagon doesn’t even want.
“Considering the extraordinary budgetary pressures our country is facing, wasting billions on unneeded weapons is unconscionable,” said Ms. Ryan Alexander, President of Taxpayers for Common Sense. “The Senate needs to step up to the budgetary plate and finally ground this multibillion-dollar boondoggle.”
“The broken defense procurement system is in desperate need of discipline,” said POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian. “If Congress wants to be part of the solution, it must start with stopping the F-22.”
July 8, 2009
The undersigned groups urge you to eliminate funding for seven unneeded F-22 Raptor fighter jets from the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010.
The addition of these F-22s demonstrates not only wasteful spending that serves parochial interests but irresponsible, smoke and mirrors budgeting. Just as our national security strategy is based upon anticipating probable threats, our defense budget must also rely upon realistic sources of future income.
We are particularly concerned by recent media reports indicating that funding for the F-22 will rely on anticipated savings from defense procurement reform, even though the Congressional Budget Office has said there is no basis for determining these savings. Other sources report that the money will also take hundreds of millions from operations and maintenance accounts, a common budgeting gimmick that directly impacts our soldiers in the field.
Additionally, we are dismayed by proposals to pay for F-22s by taking $146 million from the Joint Strike Fighter's management reserve fund. This fund, which has historically experienced shortfalls, is needed to address any unexpected issues in the program, and removing money may disrupt the Joint Strike Fighter’s development. Both the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Air Force have stressed that the Joint Strike Fighter program is critical to our national security, and both support ending F-22 procurement at 187 planes.
In a June 24 Statement of Administration Policy, the President's advisers said they would be forced to recommend a veto if the National Defense Authorization Act includes advance procurement of the F-22 or spending that would seriously disrupt the Joint Strike Fighter program. Procurement of additional F-22s does not serve our national security needs and jeopardizes the Department of Defense's higher priorities. We ask you to take a stand against wasteful and irresponsible spending and support amendments that will delete this funding from the 2010 defense authorization bill.