Senate Passes Massive Defense Spending Bill
October 12, 2009 by Special To Personal Liberty
Even though the U.S. is grappling with a multitrillion dollar federal budget deficit, senators have approved a Pentagon spending bill worth $636 billion, which includes $2.7 billion in earmarks.
The bill will fund U.S. military operations during the current fiscal year, and combines $128 billion for the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan with $498 billion for the rest of the Defense Department’s budget, according to media reports.
Although the Senate decided against funding additional Lockheed Martin F-22 fighter jets, the VH-71 replacement presidential helicopter and a second engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the majority of the lawmakers rejected an amendment to withhold funding for 10 C-17 cargo aircraft.
It was proposed by Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona who said purchasing the aircraft —which cost $2.5 billion — represented wasteful spending and who called on the president to veto the bill.
The measure also contains $2.7 billion worth of earmarks sought by individual senators, including funding for-profit companies to develop new technologies. McCain also introduced an amendment which aimed to require earmarked for-profit companies to be subject to competitive bidding, but it was also defeated.
The legislation must now be reconciled with a measure passed by the House of Representatives in July before being offered to President Obama for signature.