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Senators Push for More F-35 Oversight in Spending Bill

Col. David Shevchik, Jr., commander of the 158th Fighter Wing, Air National Guard, flies the wing’s final F-35A Lightning II to the South Burlington Air National Guard Base during a ceremony marking the arrival, South Burlington, Vt., Oct. 14, 2020. The aircraft is the 20th and final to be assigned to the wing since taking delivery of the first two in Sept. of 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Ryan Campbell)

The Senate Appropriations Committee wants to keep a closer eye on the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program.

Lawmakers added multiple provisions to the committee’s version of the fiscal 2021 defense spending bill that call for more reports on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, as well as greater transparency in future budgets.

The committee is offering $1.1 billion for 12 more F-35As, and $525.5 million for five more F-35Cs, than the Pentagon requested. In total, Senate appropriators want to spend $5.5 billion on 60 F-35As for the Air Force in 2021. That’s nearly identical to the House’s plan for the F-35A, which offers $5.8 billion. The service requested 48 of the jets.

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