Just hours after celebrating a decline in “the administrationâ€™s ability to steamroll Congress,” I find myself celebrating a successful Obama veto threat.
With Senators crossing party lines in both directions, the Senate voted 50-48 today to strip $1.75 billion in funding for additional F-22 fighters from a military authorization bill.Â Hawk though I am, I’m pleased by this, and this passage from the New York Times explains why:
Critics have long portrayed the F-22 as a cold war relic. The plane was designed in the late 1980s, when the Air Force envisioned buying up to 750 of the planes to dominate dogfights with Soviet jets.
The F-22 can perform tactical operations at higher altitudes than other fighters, and it can cruise at supersonic speeds without using telltale afterburners. With a stealthy skin that scatters radar detection signals, it was also meant to sneak in and destroy enemy surface-to-air missile defenses, clearing the way for bombers and other planes to follow.
But the F-22 has never been used in war, and in recent years, the Pentagonâ€™s focus had shifted to the fights against Islamic insurgents. The Bush administration also tried to halt its production.
Proponents say more of the planes are needed as insurance for possible wars with countries like China and Iran.
I propose this rule of thumb: If President Obama and former President Bush both want to cancel a weapons program, the Congressional pork protectors should lose.