HR 3326: FY 2010 House Defense Bill Offers Challenges

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On July 30/09. the US House passed its “H.R. 3326: Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010” by a crushing 400-30 vote. Reconciliation with the Senate’s S. 1390 bill will happen in committee, before the final joint bill can be sent to the President for signature – or veto. The House bill contains a number of provisions that challenge official Pentagon decisions, and could lead to political fights with the Senate or even with President Obama. The key flashpoints include: VH-71 Concept(click to view full) Presidential helicopters. $485 million to convert the 5 flight test aircraft already bought and paid for into operational VH-71 Increment 1 Presidential helicopters. A direct challenge to the Pentagon budget, the Senate budget, and to SecDef Gates’ statement that “Increment One helicopters do not meet requirements and are estimated to have only a five- to 10-year useful life.” Lockheed Martin disputes that lifespan estimate. The Senate bill sticks to the Pentagon’s plan, and this is a high profile issue that has attracted veto threats. A serious House-Senate clash is very likely, and the VH-71 program has the political profile that would make Presidential veto of the 2010 budget a realistic option. Advantage: Senate & President. F136 […]

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