House Approves $636 Billion Defense Spending Bill

Friday, July 31, 2009

The House approved a $636 billion defense spending bill Thursday after voting to strip money for the controversial F-22 fighter. However, it left funding in place for several other military programs that the Obama administration said it does not want.

The defense measure, which passed 400 to 30, was the last of 12 appropriations bills for 2010 to clear the House.

Lawmakers bowed to a threat by President Obama to veto the spending bill if the F-22 funding remained. Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), who sponsored the legislation, also sponsored an amendment to cut the funding, which passed 269 to 165.

The White House also hinted that a veto might occur if the bill included funding for the VH-71 presidential helicopter and for an alternative engine program for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. But money for both programs remained, as did funding for other items the Pentagon does not want -- extra C-17 transport planes and F-18 jets, as well as the Kinetic Energy Interceptor, a missile defense program.

The Senate has not moved its version of the defense spending measure through committee yet, and a final bill will not emerge from conference negotiations until this fall at the earliest.

-- Ben Pershing

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