This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) that would have prohibited federal funds from being used for the procurement of the V-22 Osprey, a military aircraft that has been criticized by some Democrats as expensive and ineffective. This amendment was offered to legislation authorizing annual funding for Defense Department programs.
Woolsey urged support for her amendment: “The Osprey's mishaps have become practically the stuff of legend. It's a poster child for the excesses and inefficiencies of the military industrial complex. Its safety record is abysmal. Thirty Americans have been killed during V-22 training exercises. Most recently… during a public demonstration in New York last spring, its prop rotors knocked down tree limbs and injured 10 civilian bystanders….The V-22 Osprey is a boondoggle. One aspect of its maintenance even includes a special lightweight paint that costs $75,000 per aircraft--and we thought $600 toilet seats at the Pentagon were a rip-off. At a time when Americans are being forced to tighten their belts, they don't want to pay $75,000 to paint a plane that has done little to keep the country safe.”
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) opposed the amendment: “The V-22 is performing very well, previously in Iraq and right now in Afghanistan…. I don't know if any of the members are particularly interested in learning the ground truth of what's going on with the V-22 or have talked with marines or Special Operations Forces about how it's performing; but I'd suggest if they want to know the real facts, they ought to go talk to the people who really fly it because that way they will learn about what is really happening. A month ago, I did have the opportunity to fly in the V-22 in Afghanistan, and I did talk to the pilots about how it's performing, about any maintenance issues they had, and a whole variety of things--all of which they thought was performing very, very well….Now, the bottom line is this aircraft is saving lives; it is enabling our marines and special operators to do the mission that we've asked them to do. It is on-target as far as cost, production schedule, the rest. It is doing more than we expected, and such amendments to remove it at this stage are shortsighted at best.”
The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 83-344. Voting “yea” were 75 Democrats—including a majority of progressives—and 8 Republicans. 228 Republicans and 106 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have prohibited federal funds from being used for the procurement of the V-22 Osprey.