Thursday, May 20, 2010

Vote YES for NO MORE Gov't Waste / Porkbarrell - Boondoggle Defense Spending

An Urgent Plea from a Citizen Against Government Waste;

I urgently need your help TODAY to stop a wasteful, special-interest project that is siphoning off billions of dollars from vital national defense priorities.
Next week, the House of Representatives is slated to vote on an amendment that would strike funding for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) alternate engine program from the fiscal year 2011 Defense Authorization Act. I urge you, before you do anything else today, to tell your U.S. Representative to vote YES on any amendment that would end this pork-barrel boondoggle!

Let me explain.

In one of the most obscene cases of members of Congress diverting Defense Budget dollars to pet projects that benefit their special-interest benefactors, members of the House and Senate have earmarked more than $1.2 billion for an alternate engine for the Joint Strike Fighter since 2004, even though the Department of Defense has repeatedly said it does not want or need the alternate engine and both the Bush and Obama Administrations have tried to eliminate it.
The Joint Strike Fighter is a stealth, supersonic aircraft designed to replace the aging fighter and strike aircraft of the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. In 2001, after a fair and open competition, the Defense Department chose Lockheed Martin to engineer and manufacture the JSF, and Lockheed’s winning bid included an engine to be designed and built by Pratt & Whitney. Bowing to appeals from Pratt & Whitney’s competitor, General Electric (GE), some members of Congress with GE facilities in their states and districts have been forcing the Defense Department to fund the development of an “alternate engine” manufactured by GE. (This is the same GE that recorded $10.3 billion in pretax income last year but didn’t pay a dime in taxes to the U.S. Government!) and its congressional backers claim that the alternate engine will create competition and bring down costs. However, the U.S. Air Force and two independent panels have concluded that an alternate engine is “not necessary and not affordable” and that the alleged savings from creating a “mock competition” will never be achieved.

Just completing testing and getting the alternate engine ready for production is estimated to cost $2.9 billion on top of what has previously been spent -- when the Pratt & Whitney engine has already received Pentagon approval and is being manufactured and tested in JSF aircraft right now.

If the Department of Defense has to maintain two engines with different parts and technicians and requiring different upgrades over time, the overall cost of the JSF program will climb dramatically, and America’s warfighters will get fewer of these vitally needed aircraft.
In fact, Air Force General Mark Shackelford testified before a Senate subcommittee last year that funding an alternate engine would mean cutting two to four aircraft in 2009 and as many as 53 in the next five years.

could not be a more clear-cut case of members of Congress jeopardizing the safety of our troops and this nation so that they can "deliver the bacon" back home!
That’s why I urge you to tell your U.S. Representative today to vote to end funding of the alternate engine.

Last year, the Senate finally bowed to the Pentagon’s wishes and pressure from groups like CCAGW and stopped funding the alternate engine. However, the House kept GE’s gravy train going by earmarking $465 million for the engine, which was included in the final version of the fiscal 2010 Defense Appropriations Act.

Now, members of the House Subcommittees on Air and Land Forces and Sea and Expeditionary Forces have authorized another $485 million for the alternate engine in the 2011 Defense Authorization Act. A vote on an amendment to remove that funding will take place on the House floor NEXT WEEK!

If we can win next week’s vote, we will finally ground the alternate engine for good!
This is not only a catastrophic waste of tax dollars at a time when we can least afford it, it is also an obscene politicization of the Defense Budget by members of Congress on behalf of a wealthy and powerful special interest.

I urge you, in the strongest terms possible, to tell your U.S. Representative today to support any amendment to the 2011 Defense Authorization Act that strikes funding for the alternate engine!

Thomas A. Schatz

P.S. Both parties in the House have pledged to curb earmarks in fiscal year 2011. Eliminating funding for the alternate engine would be a good place to start. Please tell your U.S. Representative today to vote YES on any amendment that would strike funding for this special-interest, pork-barrel boondoggle!

P.P.S. To win the battle against this wasteful and unnecessary program, our elected representatives need to hear from as many Americans as possible. Please help us by forwarding this message to your friends and neighbors.

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), the nation's largest taxpayer watchdog organization with more than one million members and supporters nationwide. CCAGW is a 501(c)(4) nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that lobbies for legislation to eliminate waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Contributions to CCAGW are not tax-deductible for federal income tax purposes. For more information about CCAGW, visit Make a contribution today to help CCAGW wage and win this battle to stop the JSF alternate engine from siphoning off funds from vital defense priorities.

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