Taxpayers for Common Sense: As Predicted, More F-35s

ROLLING ANALYSIS, FY21 OMNIBUSAs Predicted, More F-35sAdding up the increases

National Security  | Analysis

Dec 22, 2020  | 1 min read | Print Article

The FY21 President’s Budget Request for F-35s was for 79 airframes across the three military services that fly tactical jets. The House of Representatives’ bill added 12 aircraft for the Air Force. The Senate version of the bill added 5 airframes for the Navy. The final version of the bill can hardly be called a “compromise” between the two different versions. Instead, it’s totally additive; that’s 17 more than requested. And that’s an additional $1.6 billion of your tax dollars.

But the language in the conference report is particularly egregious. “The fiscal year 2021 President’s budget request includes 79 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters (JSF), 19 fewer than were provided in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2020 (Public Law 116-93).”

Yep, that’s true. But let’s not try to spin this as some huge cut. Last year’s President’s budget request was for 78 airframes and the Congress added 20 additional airframes. So, in fact, this year’s request was for one more F-35 than last year’s request.

Par for the course, but we’re not going to look the other way when Congress tries to take a Mulligan.