One Down, One to Go

President Obama on Wednesday signed the Fiscal 2010 defense policy bill into law that authorizes $550.2 billion for defense and national security programs and $130 billion to support overseas contingency operations. The White House was successful in the end in getting Congress to go along with the Pentagon’s desire to cap F-22 production and terminate big-ticket projects like the VH-71 Presidential Helicopter. But lawmakers did go against it on one major count by including $560 million to keep alive the F-35’s second engine initiative, the F136. Despite a White House warning, Obama did not veto the policy bill over the F136 engine, but CQ Today reported earlier he might save the veto for the companion spending bill, also likely to contain F136 funding. The spotlight now rests solely on the defense appropriations bill, the final version of which House and Senate conferees are hashing out. (For more, see Wednesday Associated Press report and The Hill report.) (President Obama remarks at signing)