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On behalf of over a million FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to vote YES on Rep. Rooney’s (R-Fla.) amendment to H.R. 1 the Full Year Continuing Appropriation Act that would end funding for the second engine in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program. For nearly a decade, the Air Force has considered the extra engine to be “not necessary and not affordable.” Both President Obama and former President Bush pushed to eliminate taxpayer funding of the alternate engine that burdens both taxpayers and the military.
The second engine is a prime example of special interest politics. The Department of Defense (DOD) has already declared the F135 engine built by Pratt and Whitney the winner of its joint strike fighter competition. Yet, Congress fails to end taxpayer support of the F136 engine still under development by General Electric and Rolls Royce. Even Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has publicly stated that “we think the current engine that GE is offering probably does not meet the performance standards that are required…we feel strongly that there is not a need for the second engine.” Shouldn’t we respect the wishes of the military by ending this needless program?
Defense spending has always been a lucrative source of pet projects and this is no exception. It is projected that it will cost taxpayers at least an additional $2.9 billion to finally finish the inferior F136 General Electric Jet Engine. Since the additional funds to develop the F136 are not in the defense budget, the Department of Defense will be forced to take away money from more pressing military needs. Robert Gates recently said that “every dollar additional to the budget that we have to put into the F-35 is a dollar taken from something else that the troops may need.”
General Electric has become the definition of a rent seeking company that seeks to obtain benefits through the political arena. I urge you to stop granting General Electric special benefits at the expense of taxpayers. With the national debt at over $14 trillion, we must seek to eliminate wasteful spending wherever we find it. Eliminating funding for the second engine in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program is a good start.
We will count your vote on Rep. Rooney’s amendment #2 to H.R. 1 the Full Year Continuing Appropriation Act as a KEY VOTE when calculating the FreedomWorks Economic Freedom Scorecard for 2011. The Economic Freedom Scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the Jefferson Award, which recognizes members of Congress with voting records that support economic freedom.
President and CEO
[Click here for a pdf version of this letter.]