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The Alternate Engine That Just Won't Die

May 5, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

For years, both parties in Congress insisted on funding the $500-million-per-year F-35 alternative engine program that nobody besides the defense contractors that benefit from it seem to want, not even the Pentagon. Then, earlier this year, against the wishes of Speaker Rep. John Boehner [R, OH-8], a bipartisan coalition of Democrats and freshman Republicans won an amendment to the 2011 spending bill to cut funding for the program. But now that appropriators have begun working on spending bills for 2012, they’re trying to secure funds for the program once again.

Ryan Grim at HuffPo reports:

The House Armed Services Committee released its spending outlines for the coming fiscal year Tuesday, and the second engine is right back in.

The budget for the Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), includes language that bars funding for engine unless “two options for such propulsion system are obligated or expended.”

“The fat lady hasn’t sung yet,” Lisa Wright, a spokeswoman for Bartlett, told HuffPost. […]

The alternate engine will also appear in HASC Chairman Buck McKeon’s (R-Calif.) official budget, Wright said.

The nearly-$600-billion-per-year Defense budget is one of the only areas of discretionary spending that Republicans are planning to increase in 2012, so I suppose that if there’s money to waste anywhere, it’s here.

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