During his time as Wisconsin’s junior U.S. Senator, Russ Russ Feingold has been an outspoken advocate for Pentagon accountability. Sen. Feingold has worked hard to support the military while at the same time eliminating wasteful spending within our military.
Last week, Sen. Feingold joined 57 of his Senate colleagues from both parties in voting against $1.75 billion in additional spending for more F-22 fighter jets. Fifteen Republicans joined 42 Democrats and Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders in supporting the amendment. While the F-22 certainly may have some place in our armed forces, it’s worth noting the F-22 has never been flown in combat or deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. At a cost of $350 million per plane, the 161 F-22’s currently in service have cost taxpayers somewhere in the neighborhood of $56 billion, which seems a steep price to pay for a plane that’s never seen combat. Instead of paying for unnecessary airplanes that may never see combat, the Senate instead directed the money be used to restore operation and maintenance, military personnel, and other funding.
Sen. Feingold, a co-sponsor of the amendment cutting more spending for the F-22, issued a statement saying, “The Senate’s passage of this amendment is a victory for the armed forces and American taxpayers. Now defense dollars can be freed up to address real world threats and fill gaps in our defense capabilities.”
While I appreciate the importance of ensuring our armed forces have all the tools and resources they need to keep our nation safe, I’ve always been of the belief that the armed forces shouldn’t have a blank check when it comes to spending tax dollars. What’s more, the military shouldn’t be free from oversight, so it’s refreshing to see lawmakers from both parties taking a stand against wasteful and unnecessary military spending.