USA — Obama Backs Gates in Budget Debate

WASHINGTON, May 28, 2010 — Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma today promised to veto any leg­is­la­tion that includes fund­ing for an alter­nate engine for the F‑35 joint strike fight­er or more C‑17 car­go jets, express­ing his “strong sup­port” for Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates’ bud­get-reform effort.

“As the Con­gress con­tin­ues its work on fund­ing bills for the Depart­ment of Defense, I want to reit­er­ate my strong sup­port for the reforms Sec­re­tary Gates is advanc­ing at the Pen­ta­gon,” Oba­ma said in a writ­ten state­ment the White House released today. “He has kept me ful­ly apprised of his efforts to reform how our mil­i­tary oper­ates and bring need­ed effi­cien­cies to the Depart­ment of Defense.”

Oba­ma said he stands “square­ly behind” Gates’ posi­tion on the sec­ond F‑35 engine and the C‑17 pro­gram.

“As the state­ment of admin­is­tra­tion pol­i­cy made clear,” the pres­i­dent said in his state­ment, “our mil­i­tary does not want or need these pro­grams being pushed by the Con­gress, and should Con­gress ignore this fact, I will veto any such leg­is­la­tion so that it can be returned to me with­out those pro­vi­sions.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)