Rep. John Larson John Barry LarsonLive coverage: Day three of the Ways and Means GOP tax bill markup Live coverage: Day two of the Ways and Means GOP tax bill markup Dems planning protest as GOP looks to punish sit-ins: report MORE (D-Conn.) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) pledged support for the F-22 fighter jet program today despite Defense Secretary Robert Gates calling to cut the program after the construction of 187 jets.

The two lawmakers appeared together at a rally in East Hartford, Conn., the home of a Pratt and Whitney factory that works on the F-22.

"In 1999, the first speech I had to give on the floor of Congress was in defense of the F-22," Larson said, according to WTIC. "It has been a battle ever since then."

"But this is the number one program of the Air Force," Larson added. "This is not a cold war program."

Said Dodd: "We have looked at this carefully, and this technology is needed."

Gates's recent budget involves several changes in military spending that might upend factories in influential lawmakers' districts. The budget will have to make its way through the Armed Services Committee, which is chaulk full of members whose districts depend on defense industry jobs.