Obama signs defense bill, attacks waste

Despite deep cuts, President Barack Obama said Wednesday at the signing of his first defense authorization bill that there is still too much waste in overall Pentagon spending.

Obama praised the terminations of the VH-71 presidential helicopter and the F-22 fighter jet programs, as well as the “massively over-budget” Future Combat Systems, the Airborne Laser and the Combat Search and Rescue helicopter.

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“Now, when [Defense] Secretary Robert Gates and I first proposed going after some of these wasteful projects, there were cynics who said it wasn’t possible; who argued that the special interests were too entrenched, and that Washington was simply too set in its ways,” Obama said. “Well, today we have proved them wrong. Today, we are putting an end to some wasteful projects that lawmakers have tried to kill for years. And in doing so, we are changing business-as-usual in Washington.”

But Obama stressed there is more work to be done.

"This bill isn't perfect. There is still more waste we need to cut,” Obama said. “There are still more fights we need to win."

Among the contracts that received funding authorization for 2010 is the alternate engine for the Joint Strike Fighter, which Obama and Gates oppose.

Obama also rejected the notion that “we have to waste billions of taxpayer dollars to keep this nation secure."