Fueling the F-22 Debate Flames

The House Appropriations defense panel has just opted to add funding in its markup of the 2010 defense spending bill for 12 additional F-22 Raptors. That’s the same number already approved by the House in the 2010 defense authorization bill. The President has vowed to veto any measure with additional Raptors. The Senate has deferred action on its version of the 2010 defense policy bill until next week, when Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) vows to bring back the amendment he and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) pulled Wednesday that would kill the seven additional Raptors included by the Senate Armed Services Committee over Levin’s objection. The Senate defense appropriators have yet to finish their markup of the Senate spending bill, but Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) is said to support keeping the F-22 production line open, if only to provide a foreign military sales option. In his markup release, Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), key House defense appropriator, noted: “I have said for the past few years that we must not narrowly focus on the wars of the present, and that we must prepare our Armed Forces for both current and future, unconventional and conventional conflicts. This legislation represents that balance.”