Obama Threatens to Veto Bill Over Helicopters
President Barack Obama on Tuesday threatened to veto the House Defense appropriations bill over funding for his own helicopters.In a Statement of Administration Policy, the White House indicated the president would veto the bill if it included $400 million to complete construction of five new VH-71 choppers. The president has serious reservations about the helicopters, which are slated to replace his aging fleet.“These helicopters currently have no mission equipment and would require in excess of $2 billion to complete and to operate as Presidential helicopters, yet would still not meet full operational requirements for that mission,— the SAP states. “[The Department of Defense] and the White House are conducting a requirements analysis, and the outcome of this effort should not be pre-empted. If the final bill were to include funds that continue the existing VH-71 program, or would prejudge the plan to re-compete the Presidential helicopter program, the President’s senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.—The SAP also restates earlier threats to veto the legislation over funding to buy additional F-22 fighters and financing for a new engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The White House says the current engine is working fine.