Obama hails Senate defeat of F-22 funding

President Obama on Tuesday applauded the Senate for defeating $1.75 billion in funding for F-22 fighter jets.

The president had repeatedly warned Congress that he would veto the defense authorization bill if the money were added. Obama thanked Sens. Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinHow House Republicans scrambled the Russia probe Congress dangerously wields its oversight power in Russia probe The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by CVS Health — Trump’s love-hate relationship with the Senate MORE (D-Mich.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDon’t disrespect McCain by torpedoing his clean National Defense Authorization Act Meghan McCain rips Trump's 'gross' line about her dad Trump's America fights back MORE (R-Ariz.), the co-sponsors of the amendment that stripped funds from the bill.

“At a time when we are fighting two wars and facing a serious deficit, this would have been an inexcusable waste of money,” Obama said in the Rose Garden.

“Our budget is a zero-sum game, and if more money goes to F-22s, it is our troops and citizens who lose,” the president said.

The president prefaced remarks on healthcare with expressions of his appreciation to the Senate. While he said he’d continue his effort to reform policies and eliminate waste in defense spending, he added that as commander in chief, “I will do whatever it takes to protect the American people.”

Obama said money spent on F-22s would have come at the expense of the troops.