A Senate measure to fund the war in Iraq would chop money for troops' night vision equipment and new battle vehicles but add $230 million for a tilt-rotor aircraft that has already cost $18 billion and is still facing safety questions.
Does this really seem like a wise choice?
Critics maintain that it's still a curious choice to be funded in a bill whose defining purpose is to replace equipment worn out or destroyed in Iraq.
The Osprey, manufactured by Bell Helicopter, a subsidiary of Textron Inc., has been in development since the 1980s and has cost the government $18 billion so far. It has suffered numerous setbacks over the years, including two crashes in 2000 that killed 23 people.
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Vice President Cheney, as secretary of defense in the first Bush administration, tried to kill the V-22, to no avail. The aircraft is popular with lawmakers, especially those from Pennsylvania and Texas, which host the manufacturing plants.
"They've hijacked the bill to spend money on their toys," said Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a budget watchdog group. "You have the V-22, which isn't even ready for fielding and it's getting money in the supplemental."
The V-22 is but one example of the Pentagon and lawmakers using the mammoth bill to skirt limits on the already rapidly growing defense budget.
I'm not trying to tell the Marines what's a good priority and what's not, but c'mon here. This isn't how I want my money spent! How 'bout you?
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