House Approves More C-17s for 2009 War Bill

The House passed its version of the Fiscal 2009 war supplemental, including funding eight more C-17 airlifters. However, the Senate Appropriations Committee version does not include additional C-17s. A group of Senators, led by Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), had petitioned appropriations chairman Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) to add 15 C-17s to the 2009 supplemental, an increase of seven over the House number, but, according to a May 13 CongressDaily report, Inouye wanted to keep the supplemental “as clean as possible.” He said he would prefer to add an unspecified number of C-17s to the 2010 budget. And yet, the door might not be entirely closed, since a May 14 report by The Hill notes that Inouye believes funding for the C-17s might be tacked on to the supplemental during debate on the Senate floor, slated for Tuesday. Either way, there appears to be significant bipartisan support to keep the C-17 production line open beyond the 205 proposed in the new defense budget, at least until the Pentagon completes mobility studies intended to clarify future tactical and strategic airlift requirements.