Earlier this week, the House voted 233-198 to cancel an extra F-35 fighter jet engine program that the Bush and Obama administrations had tried to kill for the last five years. Currently, there are two engines created for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The original idea was that competition would help drive down prices, but that doesn't seem to have happened. If approved by the Senate, the move will save up to $3 billion over the next several years.
The vote wasn't a straight party-line vote -- in Missouri, Reps. Sam Graves, Billy Long, Russ Carnahan and Lacy Clay voted to cancel the funding, while Vicky Hartzler, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Todd Akin, Jo Ann Emerson and Emanuel Cleaver to keep the program going.
But what's interesting is that conservative and tea party groups, the Obama Administration, Defense Department and Bush Administration were all on the same side of this issue -- it's an expensive program that doesn't make sense to keep going. Eliminating funding for the extra engine was supported by all of the following hippie liberal groups:
- The Wall Street Journal editorial page: "A second engine is hard to justify in a world of increasingly limited military resources."
- Citizens Against Government Waste: "Competition does not mean buying two of everything. Unfortunately, members of Congress often ensure that losing bidders receive pork-barrel earmarks."
- Americans for Tax Reform: "We urge you to vote against any funding for the Joint Strike Fighter engine program and look forward to working with you to end the wasteful earmark process as a whole."
- The American Conservative Union: "The $3B that supporters of this program are seeking for a favored contractor through the earmark process is money that...does not need to be spent for any valid national security or defense purpose."
- National Taxpayers Union
Akin and Hartzler talk a big game about reducing deficit spending, but both have said that they'll oppose any cuts to any defense program, no matter how wasteful or unnecessary. H'ray, fiscal conservatism!