Still Lots Of Pork In The Defense Bill
I still consider it a big victory for Obama and those who want to eventually see the military-industrial complex neutered to see additional funding for the F-22 fighter struck from the defense appropriations bill. I'm glad the Pentagon took a stand. But the final House version of the bill still includes numerous weapons systems that the White House never called for.
The House approved a $636 billion defense spending bill Thursday after voting to strip money for the controversial F-22 fighter. However, it left funding in place for several other military programs that the Obama administration said it does not want [...]
The White House also hinted that a veto might occur if the bill included funding for the VH-71 presidential helicopter and for an alternative engine program for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. But money for both programs remained, as did funding for other items the Pentagon does not want -- extra C-17 transport planes and F-18 jets, as well as the Kinetic Energy Interceptor, a missile defense program.
(Good for the House, by the way, getting all of their appropriations bills done by the end of July. Majoritarian government is efficient government!)
This unwanted equipment totals almost $7 billion dollars at a time when we need to beg and scrape for $2 billion more for the wildly successful cash for clunkers program (just a side note on that, this Economist writer is relying on theory of the program offering little environmental benefit, and not the practice that fuel efficiency has shot up 69% in the cars traded in, saving consumers $187 million in gasoline and reducing carbon emissions by 655,000 metric tons).
Congress will be Congress, as they say. It's just difficult to get things out of the system once they become entrenched. And for every F-22 victory, there are billions of dollars in lesser-known projects that are just as useless and constrain our budgets. We still have a long way to go.