Senate kills funding for F-35 engine

By Associated Press
July 24, 2009

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WASHINGTON - The Senate has again gone along with Obama administration efforts to change the way the Pentagon buys weapons, voting yesterday to eliminate spending on a jet engine program the defense secretary says is superfluous.

The vote to eliminate $439 million from a defense budget bill for continued development of a backup engine for the F-35 next-generation fighter plane occurred just two days after the Senate stripped $1.75 billion from the bill to produce more F-22 fighters.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has made the shutdown of the F-35 second engine program and new F-22 production key elements of his drive to shift money to weapons systems more attuned to unconventional wars.

The White House has said President Obama would issue the first veto of his presidency if the $680 billion defense bill contained money for either program.