Our Congressman says local jobs may be impacted.
Production of the F-22 Raptor, billed as the most advanced military fighter plane in the world, may come to a halt, after the U.S. Senate voted to remove $1.75 billion from a defense bill currently making the rounds in Washington DC.
The funding was specifically set aside for the stealth F-22, although White House officials and Defense Secretary Robert Gates led a successful charge to re-direct the money to other programs, reportedly including a plan to build more of the smaller F-35 attack aircraft.
Congressman Buck McKeon, who represents Santa Clarita and is the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, expressed grief towards the prospects of the F-22’s slowdown.
“It’s disappointing that the Senate voted to terminate the production line for America’s most-advanced fighter aircraft,” he said. “The decision to terminate the line, if sustained when the House and Senate conference the defense authorization bill, cannot be easily reversed and could cost Southern California thousands of high-paying jobs.”
So far, the U.S. has footed the bill for 187 of the nimble airplanes, nearly 200 less than defense officials had previously asked for.
“The Senate made this decision despite the fact that the Air Force’s military leadership continues to state that the military requirement of 381 aircraft has not changed.
McKeon went on to question why the President would cut funding for defense projects.
“The Obama Administration’s decision to terminate F-22 production is clearly a budget exercise to trim spending on national security at a time when federal spending is sky-rocketing,” McKeon concluded.
The bill will now enter conference between the two congressional bodies and could be altered at that time.