House Appropriators Add F-22s, But Murtha Bails

The full House Appropriations Committee included funding for advance procurement for 12 additional F-22 Raptors in its markup (summary) of the 2010 defense spending bill Wednesday morning, less than a day after the Obama Administration cheered the Senate for striking additional Raptors from the 2010 defense policy bill. However, it appears that Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), whose defense subcommittee proposed the additional F-22 funding, now is ready to throw in the towel. During the full committee markup Wednesday morning, Murtha hinted at his change of heart, saying, “I was going to offer an amendment to adjust the F-22, but I decided I just couldn’t get it together fast enough.” According to a report by The Hill, Murtha later remarked, “When the Senate said 58 to 40 [to kill the F-22], I think that ended the debate” and added, “We have to be realistic about this.” The Hill reported that Murtha now wants to use the funds set aside for Raptor advance procurement to support the existing F-22 fleet. There is likely to be more discussion on the House floor next week when the full House takes up the defense spending bill, however, it would seem that the fat lady has sung.