House passes 2010 Pentagon spending bill

June 26, 2009 at 10:21 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. Congress moved ahead to build more F-22 fighter jets, despite a veto threat from the Obama administration.

In approving a defense spending bill that funds more F-22s than the administration wants as well as funds a second engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the House joined the Senate in a potential showdown on defense spending with the Obama administration, The Hill reported Friday.

The House passed the 2010 defense spending bill Thursday on a 389-22 vote.

The Senate hasn't taken up the bill, but the chamber's Armed Services Committee voted 13-11 on Thursday to authorize $1.75 billion for seven more F-22s.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates proposed the cuts as part of an effort he said would better spend taxpayer dollars on military priorities. The Pentagon did not request funds for the F-22 in 2010 and wants to see production end after the 187th airplane is delivered.

The Office of Management and Budget issued a statement outlining the veto threat Wednesday on both issues, drawing a withering comment from Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, where the F-22 is built.

"It is regrettable that the administration needs to issue a veto threat for funding intended to meet a real national security requirement that has been consistently confirmed by our uniformed military leaders," Chambliss said in a statement.

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