Senate strips F-22s from DoD bill, easier road for hate crimes law

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Hate Crimes passes SenateThe Senate today voted to strip funding for F-22 fighter jets from the Department of Defense Authorization bill. The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act rides as an amendment to the DoD legislation, which was under the threat of a veto if funding for the controversial aircraft remained.

The 58-40 vote reflected an all-out lobbying campaign by the administration, which had to overcome resistance from lawmakers confronted with the potential losses of defense-related jobs if the F-22 program was terminated.

“The president really needed to win this vote,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., said. Levin said it was important not only on the merits of the planes but “in terms of changing the way we do business in Washington.”

While the termination of the F-22 program increases the likelihood Obama will sign the hate crimes bill when it reaches his desk, it is unclear if the “unwelcome” amendments added just yesterday, including a provision for the death penalty, will pose further problems.

The ACLU also has issues with the Senate version of the bill, preferring the House version.

Post by ILO on 07/21/09 at 12:07 pm