How a sophomore beat Speaker John Boehner (with cuts to Defence Spending)

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    Feb 17, 2011 3:18 PM GMT
    May this be the template for the many battles to come.

    In a career-defining victory for a young lawmaker, sophomore Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) corralled conservative freshmen to beat his own party leadership this week, spearheading a pivotal House vote to cut $450 million for a competitive engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

    It has been one of Washington’s most intensively lobbied issues in years, and big cuts to defense are among the rarest accomplishments on Capitol Hill, since every single line in the budget has ferocious, deep-pocketed defenders.

    Top House leaders - Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Armed Services Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.) - were arrayed in favor of preserving the program, in part because the alternative engine is built by GE, a big employer in Boehner’s home state of Ohio.

    The vote on the amendment to scuttle the program was 233-198, with 47 Republican freshmen tipping the balance.

    This vote highlights the entrenched interests that cross party lines and therefore makes for strange bedfellows - but it also makes this win even more remarkable:

    Amendment No. 2 by Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla. would back the White House request to eliminate the second engine by General Electric and Rolls Royce that the Pentagon said would ultimately cost $3 billion. Defense Secretary Robert Gates called the engine an "unnecessary and extravagant expense."

    The amendment is putting a lot of people -- Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Democrats and Tea Party conservatives -- on the spot. The engine is built primarily in Ohio and Indiana.

    Rep. Robert Dold, R-Ill., a Tea Party freshman, is circulating a letter encouraging other freshmen to support President Obama on this one.

    Last night, Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., gave a rousing defense of a second engine, arguing that it supports competition and capitalism and will save money in the long run.
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    Feb 17, 2011 3:22 PM GMT
    Very cool!


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    Feb 17, 2011 3:34 PM GMT
    This is one of the reasons why I advocated for voting out all those "career pols" in the last election, so that things like this could happen.

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    Feb 17, 2011 4:26 PM GMT
    We agree again !!!! this cut is a start !!! now lets take the Pentagon/Military cuts from 5% up by another 25%, then we'll get somewhere. Many of our installations around the world are of no value at all to "our interests", they just bring about disgust from the host country's or communities, so close them and save the money.

    A huge amount of money could be redeemed from the Likes of Haliburton, KBR, and a multitude of other private contractors who got rich off these unnecessary wars, GO AFTER FRAUD AND ABUSE WITH A VENGEANCE !!! Both past and present !!!
  • mke_bt

    Posts: 707

    Feb 17, 2011 7:44 PM GMT

    Thanks for posting this. I hope this is a sign of things to come. It's good to know that entitlement programs are not the only sacred cows under scrutiny.