Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The House Vote To End The F-35 Alternate Engine Program

“The House vote to delete funding for the F-35 alternate engine from the fiscal year 2011 budget bill may be good short-term politics for some, but it is shortsighted defense policy for all Americans.  I agree with Speaker Boehner that in the long run the alternative engine will save money and make us stronger.  This is a serious national security slipup that would detract from the only fighter jet we will be adding to our air fleet for a generation.

“Lawmakers have the responsibility to cut the rhetoric and keep to the facts so taxpayers can know the real effects that our proposals, and our votes, will have.  The Pentagon has put all of our eggs in one basket in building the Joint Strike Fighter.  Now the Pentagon wants to further extend that monopoly to just one engine builder, Pratt & Whitney.

“Adding to the strong case for the alternate engine, and the mounting stack of evidence against ending competition, is the latest report five days ago by Congressional Quarterly, documenting the continued cost spiral in the Joint Strike Fighter overall and in the Pratt & Whitney engine in particular.  If the House prevails in killing competition in the engine program, we will pay more and more money for less and less engine.

“This debate is far from over.   I will keep fighting for engine competition.  We have two houses of Congress for a reason, and the Senate does not need to swallow bad ideas from the House.”  

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