Senate does the right thing on F-22 vote

Common Cause applauds a vote today by the US Senate to strip $1.75 billion from the 2010 defense authorization bill meant for production of seven additional F-22 Raptor fighter jets that Defense Secretary Robert Gates and others have argued is no longer needed.

“During this time of record defense spending and national deficits, it’s essential that Congress act in the public interest, not in the interest of defense contractors that are spending millions to buy access and influence,” said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause, which last week analyzed spending by Boeing and Lockheed Martin on campaign contributions and lobbying this year as part of a campaign to maintain the F-22 funding. “The Senate did that today.”

Next, Congress must remove the $369 million that the House of Representatives included in its version of the defense bill for additional F-22s, when the legislation moves to conference committee, Edgar said.

The Common Cause report found that combined, Boeing and Lockheed gave nearly $1.4 million in campaign contributions so far this year to 50 senators as the companies have fought to continue funding for the much-criticized fighter jet. In addition, the two defense giants have spent nearly $9 million lobbying Congress, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.