By Roxana Tiron - 07/16/09 10:59 AM EDT
Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), the chairman of the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee, decided to fund $369 million for the advance procurement of parts to build 12 more F-22s. The amount is the same as is included in the 2010 defense authorization bill the House has already passed.
President Obama has personally vowed to veto any defense bill that includes more funds for the F-22. The administration wants to cap the F-22 fleet at 187 and did not request any money for 2010.
Murtha, in a briefing with reporters, acknowledged the veto promise and indicated that if the presidential veto is looming over the spending bill and Congress does not have the votes to override the veto and support more F-22s, "We'll back down on the damn thing."
But he said that he wanted to convince the White House to at least agree to advance procurement to keep spare parts producers and subcontractors alive to be able to provide materials in case there will be more F-22s.
The Senate, meanwhile, is headed for a showdown next week over the F-22s. Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) are fighting to strike $1.75 billion for seven more F-22s from the 2010 defense authorization bill now under debate on the Senate floor.