House panel revives MEADS fight

Last year’s Defense authorization bill prohibited the administration from funding roughly $400 million for the final year of development of the tri-national program.

But the Senate Appropriations Committee put the money into the Defense appropriations bill, allowing the Pentagon to fund it.

Rep. Bill Shuster (D-Pa.), who offered the amendment Wednesday, said it was time to “put an end to appropriator carve outs.”

“What’s the point of authorizers writing laws if they’re only going to be sidestepped?” Shuster asked.

The Pentagon did not include funding in the 2014 budget for MEADS, but opponents said they wanted Shuster's amendment passed out of concern that the program would eventually be revived.

Strategic Forces subcommittee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) defended the system, saying that Congress was correct to fund the program because the administration would have faced termination fees from Germany and Italy, the other two countries involved the project.

The military had decided in 2010 that it was not going to purchase the MEADS system, but the Pentagon supported finishing development of the system in order to harvest the technology.

“If the Army decides it wants to use technology and harvest it, they ought to be able to,” Rogers said. “It is irresponsible in my view to tie their hands.”

Rogers also said that Shuster was opposed to MEADS because a competing system from Raytheon was built in his Pennsylvania district, while critics shot back that Lockheed’s MEADS development occurred in Alabama.

The amendment passed on a voice vote, and Rogers and other MEADS supporters did not ask for a roll call.