On June 25th, the US House of Represenatatives overwhelmingly passed HR 2647, their version of the 2010 Defense Authorization. All of Michigan’s delegation, 8 Democrats and 7 Republicans, voted in favor. Only 22 (20 Democrats, 2 Republicans) opposed the bill. President Obama is threatening a veto if the bill also passes the Senate, however.
According to The Heritage, Obama is selling America’s defense short and this claim seems to be picking up traction. But others seem to claim Obama’s budget is increasing defense spending. So it’s a little like using statistics to prove whatever you want.
What seems to be most at issue is the F-22 Raptor. The Heritage blames cutting the Raptor and 4 other “key” defense concerns as Obama’s evisceration of America’s security. But Obama is poised to veto the House bill precisely because the House added F-22s. The Air Force agrees it doesn’t need the extra fighers.. Seems the House and Senate both want more F-22s than Secretary Gates. Development of a second F-35 engine is another sticking point.
I’m in the military, so I’ve got a vested interest. I’ve long thought the ballistic missile defense program was a folly. Current operations certainly seem to favor the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in lieu of the F-22 air superiority platform. Obama’s defense budget also enhances funding for unmanned aerial systems (UAS), a key weapons platform in today’s warfight.
We’ll have to wait until after the summer recess to see how this all plays out. The Senate version, S. 1033, is currently sitting in the Armed Services Committee. It will likely get it’s own set of plus-ups, probably different than the House bill. Then the House and Senate will have to come up with a concensus version, undoubtedly costing more than either House or Senate version.
In the meantime, it seems somebody beside us ordinary folk have realized all the crazy government spending lately is unsustainable. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said “we can’t pay for it all,” referring to health care reform, stabilizing and improving the economy, and the myriad of other presidential initiatives. Maybe our representatives need to know that, too, so they don’t keeping adding pork on top of budget requests.