Monday, July 26, 2010

No Funding for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

We are on the verge of winning a multiyear battle against one of Washington’s most intractable special-interest boondoggles, but I need your help today to succeed.

The House and Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittees will begin marking up their fiscal year 2011 Defense Appropriations bills this week, and I urge you to tell your U.S. Representative and Senators to oppose funding for the wasteful, unnecessary alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is siphoning off billions of taxpayer dollars from other vital national defense priorities.

Both the Bush and Obama Administrations have tried to cancel the alternate engine because the Department of Defense has repeatedly said it does not want or need program. The U.S. Air Force and two independent panels have concluded that an alternate engine is “not necessary and not affordable” and that the alleged savings from creating a “mock competition” will never be achieved.

However, members of Congress with facilities in their states and districts where the alternate engine would be built have kept the program alive with $1.2 billion in self-serving earmarks since 2004!

Just completing testing and getting the alternate engine ready for production is estimated to cost $2.9 billion on top of what has previously been spent -- when the original engine contracted by the Pentagon for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has already received approval and is being manufactured and tested in aircraft right now.

The F-35 is designed to serve as the cornerstone of our nation’s future aerial defense capabilities by replacing the aging fighter and strike aircraft of the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marines. If the Department of Defense has to maintain two engines with different parts and technicians and requiring different upgrades over time, the overall cost of the F-35 program will climb dramatically, and America’s warfighters will get fewer of these vitally needed aircraft.

In fact, Air Force General Mark Shackelford testified before a Senate subcommittee last year that funding an alternate engine would mean cutting two to four aircraft in 2009 and as many as 53 in the next five years.

Christine, this could not be a more clear-cut case of members of Congress jeopardizing the safety of our troops and this nation so that they can "bring home the bacon"! The alternate engine is not only a catastrophic waste of tax dollars at a time when America can least afford it, it is also an obscene politicization of the Defense Budget.

CBS Evening News has called the alternate engine, “the engine no one wants.” The Houston Chronicle dubbed it, “pork with wings,” and both Politico and RedState have called it the new “Bridge to Nowhere.”

What’s more, a recent Clarus Research Group survey found that 87 percent of those surveyed agreed with the statement: “If America’s military leaders at the Pentagon determine that a multibillion-dollar defense contract with a private company is wasteful and unnecessary, Congress should NOT spend the money.”

Christine, in the face of record budget deficits, we have indications that members of Congress may be losing their appetite for this pork. That’s why I urge you right now to tell your tell your U.S. Representative and Senators to oppose any effort to fund the alternate engine in the fiscal 2011 Defense Appropriations Act.


Thomas A. Schatz

P.S. Retired General John Michael Loh, former Air Force vice chief of staff and a former commander of the Air Force’s aircraft and engine acquisition center, wrote in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “Alternate engines for military aircraft are not necessary…Alternate systems add cost, complexity and safety problems. They don’t pay economically or operationally. The F-35 alternate engine program flies in the face of smart acquisition policies. It is a contrived competition ginned up by special interests in Congress.” Tell your U.S. Representative and Senators today that you want them to put a stop to this wasteful boondoggle!

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), the nation's largest taxpayer watchdog organization with more than one million members and supporters nationwide. CCAGW is a 501(c)(4) nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that lobbies for legislation to eliminate waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Contributions to CCAGW are not tax-deductible for federal income tax purposes. For more information about CCAGW, visit http://www.ccagw.org/ Make a contribution today to help CCAGW wage and win this battle to stop this multibillion-dollar waste of Defense Budget funds.

US Appropriations Bill

Displayed below are new, updated, and passed items with their cost or savings per family.

H.R. 5822
The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2011
Costs $1,734.94 per family

S. 3635
An original bill making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, and for other purposes
Costs $441.55 per family

S. 3636
An original bill making appropriations for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, and Science, and Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, and for other purposes
Costs $667.08 per family

Friday, July 23, 2010

DISCLOSE This! Stipped of Rights Except for NRA

July 23, 2010

Dear Campaign for Liberty member,

Late last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid fired a shot directly at your free speech and moved to bring the DISCLOSE ACT (better named the "Establishment Protection Act") to a key vote to shut off debate next Monday night or Tuesday.

Contact Senator Kirsten Gillibrand at (202) 224-4451 and Senator Chuck Schumer at (202) 224-6542 right away and demand they OPPOSE DISCLOSE (S. 3628) on every vote – including cloture.

Senator Chuck Schumer has introduced a revised version and used Senate rules to bypass committee and go straight to the floor, meaning this so-called “transparency” bill will have as little transparency as Senate leaders can get away with.

We’ve fought this First Amendment-shredding, Big Labor-empowering infringement every step of the way, and we have a chance to strike a devastating blow and uphold the Bill of Rights by preventing cloture.

In fact, if the National Rifle Association and certain huge left-wing groups had not cut a deal to not be covered by DISCLOSE, the bill would have died in the House.

But if we don’t act now, we may not have the ability to in the future.

Contact Senator Kirsten Gillibrand at (202) 224-4451 and Senator Chuck Schumer at (202) 224-6542 right away and demand they OPPOSE DISCLOSE (S. 3628) on every vote – including cloture.

The statists would love nothing more than to silence C4L and like-minded organizations by going after our donors for opposing their agenda.

Harry Reid is doing everything he can to railroad the opposition. Let’s show him the freedom movement will never back down.

In Liberty,

John Tate