Just over half of the new Republican freshmen joined with 64 of their Republican colleagues and 123 Democrats to kill a dual engine for the F-35 fighter jet opposed by President Obama and the Pentagon as a waste of taxpayer dollars.
The amendment, which has failed in the House in past attempts, could save $435 million through the rest of fiscal year 2011 if signed into law.
The issue is an alternative engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter plane. The F-35 already has one engine that works, but advocates say hiring two companies to produce engines will force them to compete with one another, driving long-term cost reductions. Critics say the money will be wasted.
House Speaker John Boehner and other key lawmakers also support the funding because of jobs created by the engine’s manufacture in Ohio, Indiana, Massachusetts and Virginia.
Obama, former President George W. Bush and Defense Secretary Robert Gates have all opposed the second engine.
“It’s not often we have an agency tell us that money we’re giving them to spend is wasteful,” said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, Georgia Republican, Tuesday.
The amendment was part of a rollercoaster day in the House in which lawmakers voted on 21 separate proposals to a “continuing resolution” spending bill, mostly to cut funding. Eight amendments passed.