House Lawmakers Fight for the F-22

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This is not a good sign for Obama’s big push to rein in wasteful defense spending: the House Armed Services committee has made an early move to restore funding for the F-22 fighter jet. Gates wants to finish production on four more planes and then end the program. (Its flaws are many: here’s a useful rundown.) Instead, the committee inserted $369 million into this year’s defense authorization bill to pay for parts for another dozen F-22s. This is basically a sneaky way to commit the government to 12 planes while putting off the bill until later: The F-22 officially goes for $143 million each—and the real figure is more like $350 million when you add in things like maintenance and training. So $369 million won’t even come close to covering their total cost.

The vote was very close (31-30), and there’s still a long way to go—both the House and Senate have to finish marking up the bill, and then negotiators for both chambers will haggle over the details in conference. Still, by coming out so early in defense of the F-22, House lawmakers are sending a pretty blunt signal to the White House that the Gates budget is going to get a bumpy ride. We’ll be covering this very closely next week in a special feature on the defense budget—watch this space.

UPDATE: Barney Frank is introducing an amendment to remove the F-22 funding.

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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