At Least $6.9 Billion in Unwanted Equipment in Bill
Expect to come to the House floor by the end of the week, the 2010 military budget still includes at least $6.9 billion in spending on weapons that the Defense Department has insisted that it doesn’t need or even want.
Though the administration managed to get some of the earmarks for the F-22A aircrafts redistributed to weapons that it might feasibly use in some sort of actual war, the bill is still packed with earmarks which would help military contractors in the districts of key legislators.
Among the expenditures are $400 million to finish the construction of five VH-71 presidential helicopters which the presdient says he doesn’t want. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has mocked the helicopters for over-elaborate design and ridiculous costs, noting they would “enable the president to, among other things, cook dinner while in flight under nuclear attack.”
Congressmen in support of the bill claim that they have been secretly told by military contacts that the devices are needed in spite of the Pentagon’s insistance that they aren’t needed. Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has promised to lead the fight against the earmarks, aiming to force a string of votes on what he says amount to “no-bid contracts” handed out to private companies.
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