Facing veto threat, Senate removes F-22 fundingFacing a veto threat from 'America's popular President,' the US Senate has voted 58-40 to remove funding for the F-22 Raptor from the armed services appropriation bill.
The F-22, the world’s most advanced fighter, had become a flashpoint in a larger battle over the administration’s push to shift more of the Pentagon’s resources from conventional warfare to fighting insurgencies.But the House has voted to fund the plane, and so the issue will be decided in conference.
The plane’s supporters, who ranged from hawkish Republicans to Democrats close to organized labor, also voiced concern over the possible loss of high-paying manufacturing jobs at a time when the economy is in turmoil.
Immediately after the vote, Mr. Obama praised the Senate’s decision, saying that any money spent on the fighter was an “inexcusable waste.”
Senate aides said that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and the White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, pushed hard to rally support for the president through phone calls to crucial senators.
The aides added that some Democrats who might have voted for more of the planes stuck with the president out of concern that a loss on the F-22 could have hurt him politically in the tougher fight over health-care reform.
Mr. Obama also received some crucial support on the F-22 vote from his Republican rival in last year’s presidential election, Senator John McCain of Arizona.
Senator McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who chairs the committee, sponsored the amendment to strip the money for the F-22 out of the bill.
Failure to approve the F-22 will break a promise to two more American allies (Israel and Japan) and cost another 95,000 American jobs.
Here's President Obumbler applauding the vote.
Let's go to the videotape.