Marshall to be forced to vote against favorite program

The House will vote on an amendment to its defense appropriations bill today that will cap purchases of the F-22 aircraft at the current 187 — ending any hope that the program will be revived.

And Rep. Jim Marshall, D-Ga., a stalwart defender of the program, likely will vote for it.

In a procedure known as the manager’s amendment, Rep. Jack Murtha, D-Pa., chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee, combined several proposals. The F-22 proposal and a motion to appropriate $67.5 million to the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command will be voted on as a single amendment. Marshall will be forced to vote for the F-22 cuts so the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command appropriations, a cause he championed, will pass. The organization works to account for all Americans missing from past conflicts.

“It’s not exactly the best position to be in,” Marshall spokesman Doug Moore said Wednesday.

The Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command typically has been funded through the Navy’s budget, but “that funding isn’t secure,” Moore said. “The Navy can move funds out of it. This has happened in the past.”

Marshall’s proposal, tied into Murtha’s manager’s amendment, would “put a fence around” the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command’s funding, ensuring that the Navy would not pull it from its bottom line.

The amendment would also second the Senate’s refusal last week to extend production of the F-22, a program that Marshall has supported. President Obama has vowed to veto any defense spending bill that includes funding for extending production of the F-22. The final assembly line for the F-22 is located in Marietta.

The House likely will continue debate on the defense appropriations bill through the August recess, scheduled to begin this weekend.