McCain Supports Obama, Gates on F-22

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) yesterday moved to strike $1.75 billion from the 2010 defense authorization bill that would go toward building more F-22s. He was joined in his amendment by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.). Levin and McCain are the chair and ranking members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which voted to approve the F-22 money over the pair’s objections. McCain, in a Senate floor speech, also said he would advise the White House to veto the defense bill if the final version includes new F-22 production money. He argued that production of the F-35 will suffice for the nation’s air combat needs and suggested that the F-22 was being added back in as a jobs measure. Even as McCain addressed fellow Senators, President Obama himself issued a veto threat over the F-22 issue in a July 13 letter to Levin and McCain (see Full Court Press). The Senate is likely to finish its work on the 2010 defense policy measure this week. The House passed its version last month and included more F-22s, which prompted an Administration statement that senior advisors would recommend a veto.