Cantor’s Pork Vote Is Hush-Hush

Eric “Young Gun” Cantor, the Republican House Majority Leader from Henrico County, seemed older and out-gunned Wednesday when new Republican members in the GOP-controlled House voted 233-198 to kill an alternative engine for the new F-35 strike fighter that even the Pentagon didn’t want.

More than half of the new Congressmen voted against the engine that the House’s older leadership, represented by Cantor and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, worked desperately to keep in the federal budget.

Their reason? Pure pork. The alternative engines would be built jointly by Rolls Royce, which has its North American headquarters in Virginia, and in Ohio where partner General Electric has big manufacturing plants. The House decided to drop the alternative and go with the main supplier, Pratt & Whitney, thus saving $450 million.

One place you won’t read the story is the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which ran a wire service piece about the vote but (predictably) left out any mention of the role of Prince Eric, whom the newspaper deeply loves and whose wife, Diana, serves on the board of parent firm Media General.

The irony is that Cantor had cast himself in a book he co-wrote called “Young Guns” last year that depicted himself as a youthful, vibrant, deficit and budget-cutting kind of guy. It was meant to play in the mid-term elections which saw a number of GOP victories, such as recapturing the House. The bad guy was free-spending President Barack Obama, who also asked to cut the second jet engine and save billions.

Now, however, it seems that some of those even younger “Young Guns” have the gumption to stand up to oldster such as Cantor and Boehner. Backed the the Tea Party movement, some actually believe it when they say they want to cut the federal budget, and that means Pentagon sacred cows.

Odder still is that this particular sacred cow is something to military does not want. They seem happy with the P&W engine for the new fighter jets that will be used buy the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. The 2,443 airplanes will cost $382 billion. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says that not adding the extra engine will eventually save $3 billion.

For further news, one place not to look is the Richmond Times Dispatch.

Peter Galuszka

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7 responses to “Cantor’s Pork Vote Is Hush-Hush”

  1. The Republican party is badly fractured these days.

    It's not only split between the social conservatives and the fiscal conservatives but the Tea Party has split the fiscal conservatives between old-line Republicans (like Cantor) who think that govt spending for the military is a win-win in that we have a worldwide military presence to preserve our interests and at the same time we provide jobs for civilians in support roles for the military – it's fine.

    The vote on the jet engine may or may not be a sign of change, we'll see but it really is sad to see the military say that they cannot afford it and people like Cantor continue to try to fund it – because of the govt spending that gets sent to Va.

    But I don't blame the RTD for this.

    I means hells bells, more than 60% of the citizens in Cantor's district vote to return him to office over and over and are apparently happy with him.

    The same electorate will, no doubt, fawn over a deja vu George Allen run.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Mr. Gooze:

    Thank you for keeping an eye on Cantor.

    He seems to be a bellwether for the political rot in the existing governance structure — and for what is wrong with both political clans.

    What specifically do you propose to do about getting rid of him and thos like him — what Prof. Risse calls Fundamental Transformaiton of governance structure?

    AZA

  3. Cost of the F-35 program = $382 Billion.

    Proposed High Speed Rail spending = $53 Billion.

    At the end of the day, which one will create more jobs today and in the future?

    Somebody get these people a calculator, please

  4. Would that be a $382 billion check from the Chinese Calculator?

    If it's jobs we are after why not $382 billion worth of high speed rail?

    I bet that will last longer than these airplane engines will.

    Never understood why govt jobs building military hardware were any better than building domestic infrastructure.

    The money spends the same whether they pay you to put an engine in a plane or a train.

  5. "Never understood why govt jobs building military hardware were any better than building domestic infrastructure."

    Agreed.

    And to add insult to injury we will never truly know how many foreign made parts will be on the thing….probably made of chinese components.

  6. If even the pentagon didn't want it how is it a sacred cow?

  7. The 53 billion for high speed rail is just of the demos. It isn;t even a down payment on what high spped rail will really cost. And the major players in that are all foreign.

    This isn't an either or. You are going to get the jets anyway. You will need them to protect the high speed rail, and the oil to run the 500 million trucks it is going to take to build it.

    Long distance high speed rail in the U.S is a boondoggle that will kill more jobs than it makes. If push comes to shove, for the number of passengers it will carry, you could probably carry them cheaper and a lot faster in the fighter jets.

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