The House of Representatives today followed last week’s Senate move to cut the funding for the F-22A fighter jets, as called for by the Pentagon and the Obama Administration. They remained firmly committed, however, to spending billions of dollars on other pet military projects that the Pentagon didn’t request and the White House insists aren’t wanted.
The White House has hinted at the possibility of vetoing the bill over some of the expenditures, but there is considerable political momentum among Congressmen to ensure that big budget defense contracts that will help key constituencies in their home districts are continued, irrespective of whether what is being created is actually going to be used for anything.
One of the key disputes is over the VH-71 Presidential Helicopter, which Congress intends to spend another $400 million on building in Rep. Hinchey (D – NY)’s district. President Obama says he doesn’t want the helicopters, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has mocked the elaborate helicopters for needless features.
The administration has sought to divert money from high-concept weapons programs to equipment that will actually be used in the current military occupations. The requested amount was still a significant increase in the overall budget, and Congress has increased it even further.