What: All Issues : War & Peace : Military Spending, General : (H.R. 5136) On an amendment to a bill authorizing annual funding for the Defense Department that would have prohibited funding for an alternate jet engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (a military aircraft), which the Pentagon views as unnecessary and too expensive. (2010 house Roll Call 316)
 Who: All Members : New York, District 2 : King, Pete
[POW!]
 
(H.R. 5136) On an amendment to a bill authorizing annual funding for the Defense Department that would have prohibited funding for an alternate jet engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (a military aircraft), which the Pentagon views as unnecessary and too expensive.
house Roll Call 316     May 27, 2010
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This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) to a bill authorizing annual funding for the Defense Department that would have prohibited funding for an alternate jet engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (a military aircraft), which the Pentagon views as unnecessary and too expensive. According to the Washington Post: “Gates has opposed the extra engine for years, saying it is unnecessary and a waste of money. But Congress has argued that funding a second engine model for the F-35 would keep defense contractors on their toes by forcing them to compete.”

Pingree urged support for her amendment: “In 2001, Pratt & Whitney won the award for the primary engine for the Joint Strike Fighter through a competitive bidding process. This process was set up to save millions in taxpayer dollars. Since then, Congress has authorized an astonishing $1.3 billion of unrequested funds for the development of this extra unnecessary engine. The Bush administration opposed this program. The Obama administration opposes this program. And yet if this amendment fails today, we will continue to fund a defense program that is a complete waste of money.”

Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) argued that eliminating funding for the second engine would prove to be anti-competitive and would actually cost taxpayers more money: “…The second engine is all about fiscal responsibility and saving the taxpayers money. The Pentagon themselves funded this program for 10 years, and they funded it because they knew that competition mattered.” Rep. Mike Conaway argued: “The Pingree amendment would result in a sole source contract to a single engine manufacturer for the Joint Strike Fighter. But few can argue with the premise that competition is good for the taxpayer.”

The House rejected the Pingree amendment by a vote of 193-231. 136 Democrats – including a majority of the most progressive members -- and 57 Republicans voted “yea.” 116 Republicans and 115 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment to the Defense bill that would have prohibited funding for an alternate jet engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

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