WASHINGTON, July 30 (UPI) -- The U.S. House passed a $636 billion Pentagon spending bill Thursday that includes programs President Barack Obama has threatened to veto.
Lawmakers voted 400-30 to cut new funding for the controversial F-22 fighter jet, but retained two expenditures Obama opposes -- $560 million for an alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and $485 million for new helicopters to fly the president, The Hill newspaper reported Thursday.
Obama has called the Joint Strike Fighter wasteful and, in a personal letter to lawmakers, vowed to veto the defense bill if it included funding to continue production of the F-22, the Hill said. The president and Defense Secretary Robert Gates had said not seeking $485 million for the new presidential helicopter program showed their determination to reduce defense spending.
The Hill noted the Pentagon spending bill is the last of a dozen appropriations bills for the House to approve. The House last approved all 12 in 2007, and the bills stalled last year when House Democrats and President George W. Bush failed to agree on discretionary spending.
House and Senate leaders have said they hope to get the appropriations bills signed into law by the Oct. 1 start of the 2010 fiscal year.