Reps. Griffin and Dold: Cut F-35 Alternate Engine Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2011

CONTACT:
Kenneth Ryan James, (202) 225-2506
k.ryan.james@mail.house.gov

Reps. Griffin and Dold: Cut F-35 Alternate Engine Program
Freshmen back Obama’s call to eliminate alternate engine for Joint Strike Fighter, Seek support from colleagues

WASHINGTON – Congressmen Tim Griffin (AR-02) and Robert Dold (IL-10) today announced they have authored a letter to President Barack Obama supporting his call to eliminate the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) alternate engine program.

The letter to President Obama will be sent later this week. Reps. Griffin and Dold are seeking fellow Members to add their names in support of this effort to trim wasteful defense spending.

“The JSF’s alternate engine program is redundant, unnecessary to our nation’s defense, and wasteful to the tune of an additional $2.9 billion we don’t have,” said Griffin, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. “Both Presidents Bush and Obama have called for the elimination of this program, as have our military commanders. We must eliminate wasteful spending wherever we find it and demonstrate that we are serious about getting our fiscal house in order.”

“Spending an astounding $2.5 billion on a program that is unwanted and unnecessary is a violation of the trust the American people have placed in their Congressional representatives.  This is an easy budget cut that needs to be implemented quickly.  The taxpayers are fed up with their money being spent in this manner,” said Dold, a member of the Financial Services Committee.

The text of the Griffin/Dold letter is as follows:

February 14, 2011

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We write in support of your and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ call for the elimination of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) alternate engine program.  First, according to Secretary Gates, the alternate engine is not militarily necessary to our national security.  Second, we recognize that the national debt is a grave threat to our economic and national security and, as a result, we simply can’t afford it.  The federal government must be a better steward of taxpayer dollars, and that includes the Department of Defense (DoD).  No federal agency is exempt.   

Each year since 2006, DoD has proposed the elimination of the JSF alternate engine program.  As you know, your predecessor, President George W. Bush, opposed it.  Our military leaders have stated that a single engine is suitable for the F-35, and we agree.  The F135 engine has accumulated more than 20,000 ground test hours and 740 air test hours, and it is five to seven years ahead of the F136 alternate engine in development.  Further, there are almost 30 U.S. military aircraft that operate with a sole source engine.  In fact, the F-16 is the only aircraft in the history of U.S. military aviation with two simultaneous engine manufacturers.  Finally, Secretary Gates has concluded that the alternate engine program “does nothing to keep us safe..”  We agree.  It simply is not necessary to our nation’s defense.

As of FY2009, over $2.5 billion was spent on the JSF alternate engine program, and the most recent Cost Assessment Program Evaluation from DoD reports that an additional $2.9 billion will be needed just to complete development of the alternate engine.  It diverts essential funding from critical military projects that keep our troops on the ground and this nation safe from attack.  The DoD can build over 50 JSFs for the price of the alternate engine program alone.  We must respect the taxpayers and their hard earned dollars.  Terminating the alternate engine program is a step in the right direction. 

We applaud your opposition to the JSF alternate engine program and urge you to maintain your veto threat of any bill that seeks to reinstate funding for this program.  The American taxpayer should not be asked to continue to fund this program because it is militarily unnecessary and a wasteful use of extremely limited and precious taxpayer dollars.  We are standing by to support you on this critical budgetary issue. 

Sincerely,

Tim Griffin                            Robert J. Dold
Member of Congress           Member of Congress

About Congressman Tim Griffin

Congressman Tim Griffin was elected the 24th representative of Arkansas’s Second Congressional District on November 2, 2010.   For the 112th Congress, he is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the House Committee on the Judiciary while also serving as an Assistant Whip for the majority.

Griffin is a graduate of Hendrix College in Conway and Tulane Law School in New Orleans, and attended graduate school at Oxford University.  He has served in the U.S. Army Reserve for 14 years, was deployed to Iraq and holds the rank of Major.  He also served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas and Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Political Affairs for President George W. Bush.  Griffin lives in Little Rock with his wife Elizabeth and their two children.

Griffin’s congressional offices are located in Little Rock and Washington, D.C., and are open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CT, except for federal holidays.  Office locations and directions are available online at www.Griffin.house.gov, by phone (501) 324-5941 or by writing the Office of Congressman Tim Griffin, 1232 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515

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