Press Release

Shutting Down the JSF Alternate Engine Program: A Home Run for Taxpayers

For Immediate Release 
May 7, 2009Contact: Leslie K. Paige 202.467.5334


(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), the nation’s premier taxpayer watchdog organization, reacted favorably to portions of President Obama’s plan to cut $17 billion in wasteful programs from his fiscal year 2010 budget.  The President is following a hit and mostly-miss tradition in Washington, D.C.  In his fiscal year 2009 budget, President George W. Bush took aim at 151 wasteful programs for a savings of over $18 billion, very few of which were adopted by Congress.  President Obama’s bid to whittle $17 billion out of a $3.5 trillion budget represents less than one half of one percent of federal spending, and even if Congress agreed, the money would be shifted to other programs.  For example, he would eliminate $12 million for the Character Education Program at the Department of Education, while adding $100 million for a similar program to be folded into the Safe and Drug-Free Schools program.

“The President’s firm commitment to slash $465 million for the wasteful alternate engine for the Pentagon’s Joint Strike Fighter program from his fiscal year 2010 budget is a seminal and welcome decision” said CAGW President Tom Schatz.  “It will be a tough nut to crack, however.  The Pentagon has tried to cancel the $7.2 billion alternate engine project every year since 2006.  It was one of 142 anonymous earmarks worth $6.4 billion in the 2009 Defense Appropriations Bill, and members of Congress will fight hard to protect the program.”

Among other items targeted for elimination or reduction that have long been supported by CAGW, the President proposes to end funding for Corridor H, a long-time West Virginia pork-barrel highway project championed by Porker Emeritus Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.), as well as reducing the Agriculture Department’s Market Access Program, a corporate welfare grant program to help private companies market their products overseas.

“The President’s staff has obviously been doing some homework on which projects merit the ax, including using CAGW’s 2009 Prime Cuts.  However, he should be talking about a reduction of 10 percent or more in government waste, which would be closer to the Prime Cuts total of $270 billion in one year and $1.9 trillion over five years.  As companies around the nation are making large sacrifices to stay in business, the President’s plan is a step in the right direction, but falls far short of what really needs to be done,” concluded Schatz. 

Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.