Obama Opposes Additional Funding for F-22s

photo by Associated Press

photo by Associated Press

President Obama made the rare move of threatening to veto one of his own bills after senators made a last minute addition to his defence spending bill to include $1.75 billion to buy seven more F-22 Raptor Fighters.

The F-22 Raptor is one of the most advanced stealth fighters in the American arsenal, and is designed primarily for air-to-air combat. The American government has already allocated funds to purchase 187 of these fighters under the Bush administration. Although the American Air Force already possesses half of these, not one of the F-22s has actually been used in action.

Obama has claimed that the US does not need these planes and has threatened to veto any bill that contains funding for additional F-22s. He is not alone in his opposition to the extension of the F-22 program. Senator McCain and committee Chairman Senator Levin, amongst others, have also called upon Obama to veto the defence spending bill if it contains funding for additional F-22s.

Senators that support the amendment are chiefly concerned with the number of American jobs that would be lost with the termination of the F-22 program.

Obama shoots down F-22 funding
By: Jen DiMascio
July 14, 2009 04:40 AM EST
President Shoots Down F-22 Funding Again

The leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee don’t have the votes to strip from the defense authorization bill $1.75 billion for seven F-22 Raptor fighter jets, but they’re hoping the power of the presidency will sway some colleagues.

President Barack Obama took another swipe at the advanced fighter jet, reiterating his threat to veto any bill containing F-22 funds, in letters to committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and ranking Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona on Monday.

“Would the president veto the bill?” asked Levin. “That speculation is no longer out there.” Those who wind up supporting more F-22s will now jeopardize funding for the troops, Levin added.

And McCain said he’d “strongly recommend” that the president veto the bill if F-22 funding was included. A vote on the amendment to remove money for more F-22s could come as early as Tuesday.

Debate about the Raptor fifth-generation fighter jet won’t be limited to the Senate; the fiscal year 2010 defense appropriations bill is scheduled for a Thursday markup in the House.

— Jen DiMascio

Tags: Defence policy, Defence spending, F-22, President Obama