Spending Bill Funds Pentagon Pork

12.18.09 | FL News Team

A bill that would fund the Pentagon through September cleared a procedural hurdle in the Senate early today. The 636-billion-dollar measure received enough votes to move past any threat of a filibuster and will now go for a final vote on Saturday. It cleared the House on Wednesday. Republicans are expected to vote for the final bill, which earmarks 128-billion dollars to keep funding Iraq and Afghanistan at current troop levels. President Obama will have to return to Congress to figure out how to pay for the 30-thousand additional troops he's seeking for an Afghan surge.

 Lawmakers couldn't resist inserting pet projects into the bill despite fierce Pentagon objections. While Congress agreed to deep-six the F-22 fighter jet, they kept ten more C-17 transports than the military needs, at a cost of two-and-a-half billion dollars. A new presidential helicopter that President Obama insists he doesn't want is being funded, along with an alternate engine. All told, lawmakers added four-point-two-billion dollars' worth of pork to the bill for their districts