Senate Floor Battle over C-17

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, on Tuesday introduced an amendment on the Senate floor during debate on the Senate’s version of the 2010 defense spending bill that would strip the $2.5 billion added to it by members of the Senate Appropriations Committee to buy 10 C-17s that the Obama Administration did not request and doesn’t want. “We neither need nor can afford,” these C-17s, said McCain. CongressDaily reported Wednesday that his measure would redirect those funds to the military’s operations and maintenance accounts to boost readiness. Countering McCain, appropriations committee chairman Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), who pushed for the add-on, argued that it would be unwise to shut down the C-17 production line prematurely before the Pentagon has made far-reaching decisions on its airlift fleet. As of late Wednesday, no floor vote had occurred. (See also Associated Press’ Sept. 30 report.)