WASHINGTON — The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) shot down Rep. Jackie Speier's amendment to trim the Pentagon's F-35 buy, but not before the California Democrat sparred with Rep. Mike Turner.
During Wednesday's HASC markup of its 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Speier offered an amendment that would have trimmed six F-35s from the Air Force's proposed F-35 buy of 44 Lockheed Martin-made jets. She cited ongoing developmental issues, reliability woes and software problems in proposing to cut the program's authorized funding line by $588.5 million.
Her amendment proposed shifting the same amount to the National Guard and reserve equipment fund.
Turner, an Ohio Republican who chairs HASC's Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee, issued a sharp rebuttal.
He criticized Speier for skipping a subcommittee hearing on the F-35 program, and a member trip to learn more about the initiative. Minutes later, he repeated the poor attendance line, pointing out to Speier that she could have asked Government Accountability Office (GAO) experts about the issues she cited.
Speier fought back, again raising concerns about the health of the F-35 program and saying the funding would be better spent on Guard and reserve needs.
When Turner then invited her to future subcommittee hearings on the often-embattled fighter program, Speier provided the day's first fireworks, thanking Turner for his, in her words, "obnoxious comments."
The full committee approved the Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee's section of the NDAA, and earlier did the same to the Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee's section.