in Houston, Texas
Texas reps maintain support for $1.4 trillion Joint Strike Fighter project beset with delays and cost overruns
Monday, Apr 02, 2012, 10:43AM CST
By Mark Lisheron
Congress

You know what they always say in government, in for a dime, in for $1.4 trillion.  As long as the money keeps coming to Texas.

The Defense Department calls it the Joint Strike Fighter, but what it is is Congressional pork on the hoof, gorging itself for a decade on horrendous spending overruns at the Lockheed Martin assembly plant in Fort Worth, according to a story by the Dallas Morning News.

Why, that’s in U.S. Rep. Kay Granger’s district. The Republican has gained a measure of dubious renown for her facility in getting the public to fund a Fort Worth downtown redevelopment project headed by her son, JD.

Granger, it seems, worked her magic at one time to make a present to the Joint Strike Fighter of its very own congressional caucus. A quarter of the 48 members of the caucus are from Texas.

Granger, in turn, was the single biggest beneficiary of contributions - $45,700  - from people connected to the Joint Strike Fighter project, a Center for Responsive Politics report in December, said.

Members of the Strike Fighter Caucus, on average, received twice as much in contributions from the interested parties as their fellow, not as fortunate representatives, the report says.

Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso, whose fondness for family has also been expressed with our tax money, lobbied for funding for an optional engine for the fighter that the Defense Department had even given up on.

Even U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, who never seems to make the annual lists of pork barrel divers, has taken to reflexively defending the most expensive defense project in history, one that cost as much as a decade fighting the Iraq War.

“We’ve put all our eggs in the F-35 basket,” Cornyn told the Morning News.

To steal shamelessly from Chief Brody in Jaws, you’re going to need a bigger basket.

***
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or mark@texaswatchdog.org or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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Photo of U.S. Capitol by flickr user cliff1066, used via a Creative Commons license.

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