Obama backs Gates in budget debate

By American Forces Press ServiceJune 1, 2010

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."