Mr. BUMPERS addressed the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arkansas.
Mr. BUMPERS. Mr. President, I send an amendment to the desk.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the amendment.
The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:
The Senator from Arkansas [Mr. Bumpers] for himself and Mr. Feingold proposes an amendment numbered 3012.
Mr. BUMPERS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of the amendment be dispensed with.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
The amendment is as follows:
Strike from line 1, page 25 through page 27, line 10, and insert in lieu thereof the following:
SEC. 133. LIMITATION ON ADVANCE PROCUREMENT OF F-22 AIRCRAFT.
Amounts available for the Department of Defense for any fiscal year for the F-22 aircraft program may not be obligated for advance procurement for the six Lot II F-22 aircraft before the date that is 30 days after the date on which the Secretary of Defense submits a certification to the congressional defense committees that the Air Force has completed 601 hours of flight testing of F-22 flight test vehicles according to the test and evaluation master plan for the F-22 aircraft program, as in effect of October 1, 1997.
Mr. BUMPERS. Mr. President, the Air Force is in the process of buying by far the most expensive fighter plane the United States has ever bought by a magnitude of 300 percent, to be precise. And that is if we can build it at today's estimated cost. I have not made any bones about the fact that I don't think we need the F-22, but we are going to get it. I lost the battle to terminate the program, I admit. But if we are going to spend $62 to $100 billion for 339 airplanes, we at least ought to fly that sucker before we buy it. And therein lies the problem.
My staff found--the distinguished Presiding Officer will find this interesting--a copy of an article from the January 9, 1989, Atlanta Constitution. The Presiding Officer is familiar with that newspaper. And the headline is `The B-2: Fly Before You Buy.' How many times have my colleagues heard that term, `fly before you buy'? No less than a thousand.
My colleague, Senator Pryor, used to screech to the roof of this Chamber about buying weapons before they have been tested.
Let me begin with a little history of the F-22. It is the Pentagon's intention--and they usually get their way--to buy advanced F-18s, the so-called E/F model. We are going to buy 30 of those next year. Then the Pentagon also plans to buy the F-22, which is supposed to be the greatest, most sophisticated piece of weaponry in the history of the world. And we are going to buy 339 of those. And then in the year 2005 we will start buying 3,000 Joint Strike Fighters. It is going to be stealthy, and it is going to be everything that anybody could ever conjure up. It will be used by the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Air Force, the Brits, and perhaps some other members of NATO.
Mr. President, we are buying all these fighters in spite of the fact that the intelligence community and everybody who knows anything about an airplane knows that there isn't a plane in the world--in France, in Russia, in China--that is even remotely comparable to our F-15 and our F-18 and there won't be, the CIA says, for 15 to 20 years. So what is the rush to judgment?
A little more about the F-22 and its checkered history. We started out to buy over 600 F-22s, and the Air Force said, we will buy them at a certain such cost. It became apparent that they could not even begin to buy that many airplanes for those dollars, so they cut the number to 438. It turns out they could not buy 438 for that price, and Secretary Cohen, to his eternal credit, said this is the amount of money we are going to spend and no more. And so that took the number down to 339. Sixty-two billion dollars, and we put a cost cap for that amount in last year's Defense bill. Listen to this, that comes to $182 million for each F-22 we buy. That is roughly three times more than we have ever paid for a fighter plane.
So what is next? Lockheed Martin and the Air Force say in November of 1994 that the F-22 will require 1,400 hours of testing before we start production. That sounded reasonable. Then in May of 1997 they say, no, we don t need to do 1,400 hours; 601 hours of testing will be adequate. And now guess what we are down to in this very bill we are debating. You see the figure on this chart: 183 hours.
Mr. President, that comes out to only four percent of the four percent of the F-22's whole 4,300 hour flight test program. Four percent.
Now, the Defense Science Board and every flight evaluator and testing expert will tell you that most of the complaints, most of the flaws in an airplane, will, indeed, show up when you test it between 10 and 20 percent of the number of hours that it should be tested. But here we are in February of 1988. In 1998, they said 183 hours. This bill that we are debating was crafted in May of this year. Bear that in mind. A lot of things have happened since then.
Mr. President, the Air Force the other day--as a matter of fact, it wasn't the other day; it was yesterday--the Air Force sent a message to every Senator's office saying, `Here is why you ought to oppose the Bumper's amendment.' But they closed it out exactly the way I knew they would close it out: 25,000 jobs--mostly in Georgia and some other States.
Mr. President, here is how much we tested other fighters before we made an initial purchase. The F-15 was tested for 975 hours before we bought the first one; the F-16 was tested 1,115 hours before we bought the first one; the F-18, 1,418 hours before we bought the first one; and the F-18E/F, the follow-on model, which really didn't need all that much testing, we tested for 779 hours. But do you know what else happened. During flight testing of the F-18E/F, they discovered that it had a problem. It was called `wing drop.'
Now, if you listen to this illustration, you will know what you get into when you do this business of buying before you fly. They had to test-fly the F-18-E/F, they had to test-fly it almost 2,500 hours to cure one flaw in a time-tested airplane.
We are spending $200 million a year on the B-1 bomber, and do you know why? Because we didn't test it. We were so hot to buy that bomber back during the cold war that we started buying the initial airplanes before we even tested them.
We are spending over $200 million this year, and we will spend $198 million next year on it.
And so what came next? The next thing that came was the B-2 bomber, and it is not fixed. And we are spending God knows how much money on it every year because we didn't test it before we bought it.
What this bill does--I hope my colleagues will pay close attention to this--this bill does not keep the Air Force from buying what they call lot 1 of low rate initial production, two airplanes. We don't stop that with my amendment. We don't change the bill. They can go ahead and buy those two airplanes.
But then there is $190 million in this bill that is fenced, it is to buy long-lead items for the next six airplanes. It says you cannot buy them until you have tested it at least 183 hours and the Secretary certifies a couple of things, then you can go ahead and start toward $1.5 billion worth of airplanes, after 183 hours of testing.
I have a something here the Pogo Alert, put out by the Project on Government Oversight. It says:
The contractors building the aircraft [referring to the F-22] may be satisfied with a promise of future testing in order to get the program funded now and will welcome getting more money in the future to fix problems discovered too late. But the Government should not walk into such a situation knowingly. To avoid more problems with the F-22, the Government merely needs to follow its own rhetoric of adopting commercial best practices, and that means, in this case, testing before producing, not after.
Once the waiver is issued by the Secretary of Defense, all bets are off. We are headed for a $1.5 billion purchase of six airplanes. And when we start running into trouble we will already be committed just as we were on the B-1 and the B-2.
The Air Force says, `We will test this airplane. We will get in the 183 hours before December.' Would you like to know how many hours they have tested it so far? As of June 16, they have tested it 6 hours. And they say yes, but we are going to step that up to 15 hours a month. If they do, in December they will have about 95--95 hours of testing.
My amendment says they ought to test this plane for 601 hours before the initial purchase of these six production airplanes is made. That is the amount the Air Force said they would do just last year. Why is it that we are in such a sweat to get this unbelievably expensive airplane built with not an enemy in sight, not anybody in the world with airplanes to even come close to the F-15s and the F-18s and the F-16s? Yet they want to go all out to start buying this airplane. And we know, we know to a certainty that we are going to regret it. The testing so far, incidentally, the 6 hours it has been tested, is on what they call a clean airplane: No armaments, no sidewinders, no SRAMs, no nothing--just a clean airplane, 6 hours of testing. And when you start putting the armaments on it and in it, it takes on an entirely different aerodynamic.
I get frustrated and too loud sometimes, because I cannot believe what we do. Do you know what the Air Force told the GAO in 1992? Listen to this. In 1992 they said: We don't have to rush anymore. The cold war is over. We can take our time in testing weapons in the future. We do not have to urge what we call concurrency. Concurrency is buying airplanes while you are testing them. You are buying airplanes on the come, betting on the come. You are betting that somehow or other, whatever problems crop up, they can be solved. That is called concurrency, and that is what the Air Force told the GAO, in 1992, that it was not going to do. It said, we are not going to use concurrency as an excuse to buy weapons in the future because we are not in that big of a hurry.
Mr. President, I wish I could say that I thought Senators who were listening, and those on the floor would take a very sensible view toward testing an airplane before we buy it, particularly the most expensive fighter plane we have ever bought. But I am not hopeful. I have seen it happen too many times, planes being built in a lot of States with a lot of jobs. Nobody wants to be accused of being soft on defense. And they know to a certainty that the American public, by and large, will never know what happened--just as they don't know what happened in the case of the B-1 and the B-2. And their money will have been spent.
Mr. President, it is the `same old, same old.' It is Lucy
holding the ball for Charlie Brown and swearing she won't pull it out from under him this time. So it is a freebie. You can go ahead and vote against this amendment and be ironclad sure you will never pay at the polls. Nobody is going to say why did you spend that $62 billion to $100 billion on that F-22 without even testing it? They don't know about it, so you get a free ride.
Mr. President, I retain the remainder of my time and yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Indiana.
Mr. COATS. Mr. President, I am happy to respond to the Senator as a member of the committee that has addressed this problem. I am just looking back at the Senator from Arizona to see if he is prepared to propound a unanimous consent request. I think this Senator and perhaps the Senator from Arkansas are willing to proceed with the amendment and will try to conform our remarks to the conditions of a unanimous consent request, if the Senator from Arizona is prepared to propound that yet. I am not sure that he is.
Mr. McCAIN addressed the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.
Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I renew my request with three modifications: One is that cleared amendments be considered as prior to the third reading; second is following the vote, following the debate on the Bumpers amendment, Senator Faircloth be recognized for up to 10 minutes to propose a MilCon amendment; then, after the disposition of the Byrd amendment, the only other amendment be a Harkin first-degree amendment with a relevant Biden second-degree amendment.
Mr. LEVIN. Relative to Kashmir.
Mr. McCAIN. Relative to Kashmir. Following that would be a vote on the Faircloth amendment which had been debated earlier.
Mr. LEVIN addressed the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
Mr. LEVIN. Reserving the right to object, and I will not object--a lot of hard work has gone into this. I would only ask a very slight modification there, which is that Senator Daschle be added as a cosponsor of the Warner-Levin-Lott amendment.
Mr. McCAIN. I also ask unanimous consent Senator Daschle be made a cosponsor of the Warner-Levin-Lott amendment regarding the name of the bill.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is ordered Senator Daschle will be made a cosponsor.
Mr. McCAIN. I also ask unanimous consent that the debate that has already taken place be accounted against the 30 minutes for Senator Bumpers and 10 minutes for Senator Coats and 5 minutes for Senator Cleland.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection to the request? Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. BUMPERS. Mr. President, how much time do I have remaining?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has 13 minutes.
Mr. BUMPERS. I have 13 minutes.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time on the Bumpers amendment? The Senator from Indiana.
Mr. COATS. Mr. President, I think I have 10 minutes under the previous order. I yield myself those 10 minutes. I may reserve some of that.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Indiana is recognized for 10 minutes.
Mr. COATS. Mr. President, the Armed Services Committee has discussed in great detail the very situation that the Senator from Arkansas raises. We held numerous hearings. I had numerous private meetings with members of the Department of the Air Force, the Department of Defense, contractors and others on this question.
Last year, in the authorization bill, I offered an amendment to impose cost caps and a number of accountability features on the F-22, not as an opponent of the F-22, but as a proponent of the F-22, a marvelous new advance in technology that I believe is needed, but one in which this Congress has an absolute responsibility to ensure that the engineering, manufacturing, development, flight testing and production schedules are done in such a way that provides accountability to the taxpayer, gives us the product that we are looking for, and gives it to us in a manner that we can afford.
The last thing we want is for the F-22 to go the way of the B-2 where we get part way into a program, and because the costs become so excessive, we have to cancel the program or stop the program where it is, or the B-1, which was rushed into production without adequate testing, and we have encountered numerous problems with that platform ever since.
In recognition of the very issue that the Senator from Arkansas raises; that is, rushing to production before we have completed adequate preproduction flight test hours, this committee, after considerable negotiation with proponents, opponents and all those in between of the F-22, has arrived at a committee consensus that we will require a specified number of flight test hours and that any money that is designated for production will be fenced and not released until that threshold is met.
We arrived at that number on the basis of intense discussions with the Department of the Air Force, the Department of Defense, the contractor and others, recognizing that given new flight testing techniques and production techniques, what will be required for the F-22 may not necessarily be what was required for tactical airplanes developed in the past. Nevertheless, we want to be assured that we have at least reached a minimum threshold before any funds can be released.
We built a little window in here for the Secretary of Defense to certify that under these new testing techniques, manufacturing techniques, and engineering techniques that a lesser number of hours is required. He can waive a certain portion of those flight test hours, but not below a certain level.
We have requested that no waiver can be granted at a level below 183 flight test hours, a level which the Department of the Air Force, the Secretary of Defense, the contractor and everybody involved in this feels is adequate.
We require more than that. We require that 10 percent of plan schedule for flight testing be completed before those fenced funds are obligated for production. However, we do allow for a waiver.
The bottom line here is that the Committee agrees with the Senator from Arkansas that not enough flight testing has taken place and that we shouldn't go forward. In fact, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology, Mr. Gansler, has already delayed the production decision for 1 year on the basis of the fact that there have been delays in the planned schedule for flight testing and that we need more flight testing.
By the same token, we are trying to balance the risk of going forward with fewer hours than what we normally would require with the risk of incurring very substantial additional costs as we slip production time schedules, as we delay moving from the engineering, manufacturing and development phase to preproduction phase or, in this case, production phase. And we are trying to balance all that. We have arrived at a pretty delicate compromise.
I will say that we do agree with the Senator that we need more flight testing hours before we rush into production, but we do also have to recognize that we have put demands on the contractor and the Air Force in terms of a fixed-price contract which requires a great commitment on their part at substantial risk, and we have to find an acceptable balance.
We think we have found that balance. As I say, those proponents of the F-22 on the committee, and the opponents of the F-22, and those in the middle have agreed this is an acceptable balance. The only thing I will say about the amendment of the Senator from Arkansas is that it goes a little further than the provision agreed to in the committee, and I believe we should hold to the committee position on this, because it does achieve that very delicate balance between the extra costs that will incur if we demand more testing, and the risk of not having enough flight testing.
We have built a 6-percent--between a 4- and 10-percent window in there, but we require the Secretary of Defense to put his signature on the line and his Department's credibility on the line before we waive below the 10 percent level.
For that reason, I urge Members to support the committee position. We will be going to conference with that and hope that they will understand that the underlying bill addresses the problem raised by the Senator from Arkansas, and we think it addresses it in a way that allows us to gain confidence that before we go to production, we have completed adequate flight testing. And yet our position also takes into consideration the fact that under a fixed-price contract and under the requirements that are imposed on the contractor and the Air Force, we are not incurring these substantial additional costs through the delay.
For that reason, I hope Members will support the committee position. Any remaining time I have I reserve, and I yield the floor.
Mr. CLELAND. Mr. President, I would like to speak for 5 minutes in opposition.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has 5 minutes.
Mr. CLELAND. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Arkansas for doing his homework. He is very courageous in touching on one of the serious issues regarding the F-22.
All of the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, including myself, were rightly concerned about the issue of whether enough flight testing on the F-22 would be accomplished prior to making an informed decision on whether to proceed with low-rate initiation production. The dilemma we faced was simple:
Do we move forward with the program at the risk that unknown problems would arise causing significant cost overruns and delays or do we shut down the production line in response to our concerns about testing which would certainly lead to cost overruns and a delay in the program?
The Catch-22 we found ourselves in was not an easy one to solve. The Armed Services Committee took this head on, and I believe we arrived at an approach that addresses the testing issue, while also addressing the issue of keeping the program on track. Let me briefly explain what the Armed Services Committee did:
First, we fenced Lot II funding, and made it absolutely contingent
upon completion of 183 test hours. Let me repeat: It is absolutely contingent upon completion of 183 hours. If that level of testing cannot be done in FY-99, Lot II funding will not be released. Second, the committee placed an additional restriction on release of funding for Lot II. The Air Force must complete 433 flight-test hours or the Secretary of Defense must certify that less than 433 hours is acceptable, explaining why less than 433 is acceptable, showing how less than 433 hours is consistent with prior Defense Acquisition board recommendations, and showing why it is more cost-advantageous to proceed with Lot II than to delay the production line.
These requirements are real. They are tough. they are realistic.
Let me offer some perspective on the first requirement. Prior to an initial production decision for 2 aircraft, the F-22 will have 183 flight test hours. In comparison, the F-16 had only 21 flight test hours prior to initial production decision for 16 aircraft--162 less than the F-22. The F-18 A/B had no flight test hours prior to an initial production decision for nine aircraft.
The second threshold, the completion of 433 hours or a certification for less than that provides us with this. The F-22 program has changed in many ways. And so many things have changed the way aircraft are designed and built today. With the advances in technology and concerns for keeping control of costs, in the future more and more testing will be done without actual flight test hours.
It is undisputed that flight test requirements cannot be replaced entirely, but there are certain amounts of simulations and ground testing that can take the place of actual in-flight tests.
Here is what the F-22 has gone through, to date: 153 prototype flight test hours--on high angle-of-attack, supercruise, and thrust vectoring technology; over 365,000 equivalent flight test hours on aircraft components and subcomponents; over 23,000 hours of software/hardware integration testing; over 6,000 hours of engine testing; 600 hours of high-fidelity radar cross section model testing; 450,000 hours of avionic ground tests; 123,000 hours of component structural tests; 2,000 hours of engine ground tests; 43,000 hours of wind tunnel testing. More importantly, there has been 25,000 hours of scaled wind tunnel testing without experiencing the `wing drop' phenomenon discovered in the F-18E/F wind tunnel testing.
The Senate Armed Services Committee provisions would require the Secretary of Defense to certify all of this and make the case that less than 433 flight test hours on this gives us the level of confidence to proceed.
I would like to say, Mr. President, that I speak in opposition to the Bumpers amendment. The Air Force informs us that a delay in the F-22 program associated with not being able to meet overly stringent requirements could increase the program some $4 billion.
So, Mr. President, I speak in opposition to the amendment and yield the remainder of my time.
Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, I come to the floor today to voice my support for the amendment offered by my friend from Arkansas.
I am proud to have worked with the distinguished Senator on a number of issues during the past five years and I will miss his leadership and friendship. One of the many issues on which I have had the pleasure to work with him is the Defense Department's tactical aircraft programs.
I am a proud co-sponsor of this most sensible amendment. I find it hard to believe that anyone could oppose an amendment that makes sure the Air Force flight tests its multi-billion dollar F-22 aircraft less than half the number of hours the Air Force itself planned to fly before moving to begin production.
Just this past Monday, the DoD's Director of Operational Test and Evaluation told Congress that the F-22 will have approximately 100 hours of flight tests by December, not the 183 the Air Force expects. And that is less than one third the number of hours that the Air Force itself said was desirable just last year. In essence, Mr. President, the Air Force wants to begin producing F-22s at a cost of about one hundred billion tax dollars after completing about 7 percent of its originally planned flight tests. Does this seem like a good idea?
By comparison, the F-15 flew for 975 hours before a production contract award; the F-16 for 1,115 hours; and even the much-flawed Super Hornet had 779 flight test hours before a production contract was awarded.
There is a direct correlation between flying hours and expansion of an aircraft's flight envelope. It takes flying hours to explore an aircraft's performance at all airspeeds and altitudes and in various configurations.
Remember, Mr. President, prototype tests, ground tests, wind tunnel tests and computer simulations did not predict the Super Hornet's program-threatening wing drop problem, which took 2,500 hours of flight tests to solve.
Mr. President, this amendment just makes common sense. We need to make sure the taxpayers are getting all they're paying for. I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.
I yield back to the Senator from Arkansas.
Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, I rise today in opposition to the amendment offered by Senator Bumpers that would fence in funding for advanced procurement for the six Lot II F-22 aircraft until 601 hours of flight testing of F-22 flight test vehicles has been completed and reported. By requiring the completion of an absolute number of test flight hours before releasing funds, this amendment places on the F-22 program constraint which would slow down the program, increase costs and jeopardize full procurement of the Air Force's requirement for this weapon.
First, I would like to note that the Armed Services Committee has already placed conditions on funding for the six Lot II F-22's. The Committee, in this very bill, included language mandating that procurement funds for these aircraft will not be released until the F-22 has completed 433 hours of flight testing, or the Secretary of Defense determines that a number of hours of flight testing less than 433 provides a sufficient basis for deciding to proceed to production. From what we know of this plane it has performed well. The F-22 meets or exceeds all expectations, and I expect this course to continue.
It is estimated that this amendment would delay the F-22 program up to one year. By breaking production lines and undermining firm fixed price contracts, production would have to wait while testing is completed, even if the F-22 has fully demonstrated its capabilities and the Defense Department has full confidence that the plane is ready for production. This delay would, in turn, increase costs of the program by up to $4 billion. This substantial cost increase would break the Congressionally mandated cost caps, at full expense to the tax payer, and risk full procurement of the Air Force's requirement.
Mr. President, the approach to the issue of flight test hours is most appropriately addressed by the Armed Services Committee in the Defense Authorization bill. This approach makes flight test requirements an essential component of full funding while providing the flexibility to proceed with the program should the F-22 prove, as it has already, that it is a plane ahead of its time. Our country cannot afford to let this program get off track. The F-22 is a vital component of our future national security. We must fund it, we must build it and we must fly it.
Mr. LEVIN. I thought the Senator from Arkansas might want to conclude, so I would use the remainder of the 3 minutes of the Senator from Indiana.
Mr. BUMPERS. Pardon?
Mr. LEVIN. I will use the balance of the time of the Senator from Indiana, and then the Senator from Arkansas can finish.
Mr. BUMPERS. Yes.
Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, first, the Senator from Arkansas has again identified a significant problem in terms of our defense procurement. We were very much concerned with this problem in the Armed Services Committee in the manner which the Senator from Indiana described.
The difficulty that we face is that there is going to be some risks either way. If there is a delay here, as the amendment of the Senator from Arkansas would require, there would be a 14-month gap, approximately, before the advanced procurement funds could be obligated. And that gap in this production line will be costly to the extent perhaps of $2.75 billion.
Now, on the other hand, in the testing which we need to displace some significant problems with the F-22, we are going to also have some significant costs. So either way, we have to face some risks--either way--whether we do it the committee way or whether we do it the way of the Senator from Arkansas.
We felt on the committee it was better to do it our way, to let the Secretary of Defense, if he must waive some of those testing hours before the obligation of the advanced procurement money require that he certify that the financial risks that are there either way would be greater from his not certifying than from his certifying.
So we are trying to reduce the risks through this process, the financial risks that are going to exist either way. But in supporting the committee position, and in opposing the amendment of the Senator from Arkansas, I again commend him for taking the time to get inside one of these issues. He is one of the few Senators who is willing to get inside one of these complicated defense procurement issues and point out the complexities, and in this case what he considers to be the error of a particular procurement process in which we are engaged. And so while I disagree with him, again, I commend him and thank him for the time he has taken on this issue.
Mr. BUMPERS addressed the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senate from Arkansas.
Mr. BUMPERS. I thank the distinguished Senator from Michigan for his very fine comments.
I have a couple of questions. No. 1, if 601 hours was the right number of preproduction tests last year, why is 183 hours the right number this year?
If you want to use apples and apples, you compare flight hours prior to award of a production contract. This chart shows the preproduction flight hours here. Those planes were tested this amount: 975 hours for the F-15; 1,115 hours for the F-16; and 1,418 hours for the F-18--preproduction hours.
And what are we going to do for the F-22? 183.
And let me repeat, when you talk about how much more this is going to cost, $3 or $4 billion more, if we do not do this--you tell me, what if the Secretary does not wait? They still have to test 433 hours, and presumably you are going to get into the same cost figures of a $3 to $4 billion cost overrun.
And while I am at it, let me ask the Air Force and Lockheed Martin this question: If you did not know, if they did not know that this committee, the Armed Services Committee--if they did not know that the required test hours were going to be cut from 600 to 183, why did they make those commitments that would generate a $3 to $4 billion cost overrun? Why are we responsible for the cost overrun that they have incurred--not us--they?
Oh, Mr. President, it is so frustrating.
I want to say this on the floor. Everyone knows I am leaving at the end of this year. I am not running for reelection. And, you know, it is no fun saying `I told you so" when you are in a little country town down in Arkansas instead of on the Senate floor. I told this body years ago that when push came to shove the space station costs were going to start escalating.
You listen to this. I told you years ago that the space station was going to cost well over $100 billion. And now it is almost up to $100 billion and rising. Since October 1, the cost overrun, just to build it--not deploy it--just to build it is 44 percent in 8 months.
And this F-22 fighter, this airplane is going to cost this body and this country more headaches than you will ever dream of. And tonight is an opportunity to avoid it. Why do we insist on going headlong into the production of an airplane this expensive, this sophisticated, which requires even more testing because of the new sophisticated equipment it has on it? And it is stealthy, all of those things.
So I will tell you tonight--and I will not be here to say `I told you so'--you are making a fatal mistake. You will regret it. The cost of this airplane is going to be a lot more than $62 billion.
When the Air Force said, `We'll build it for $62 billion,' Secretary Cohen said, `OK, that's what we're going to build it for.' They said, `How many can you build?' They said, `Three hundred thirty-nine.' So last year, courtesy of my good friend from Michigan, Senator Levin, and Senator Coats, and Senator McCain, we took the Air Force's word, and we put the total cost at $62
billion--$182 million each.
And we hadn't anymore got it ink printed, the ink wasn't dry, before the Air Force says, `I'm sorry, we can't do it. We have to lift that cap.' You know something else? It will be lifted. It will be lifted. Nothing is ever permanent around here. How we deceive ourselves and get by with it.
The only satisfaction I will get out of this evening is knowing that sometime in the not-too-distant future I will be proven correct. Would you buy an automobile that had been tested for 6 hours, or even 183 hours? You wouldn't buy a Jeep that had only been tested for 183 hours, but we are going to spend $100 billion on 339 airplanes.
I yield the floor, and I yield back the balance of my time.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time is yielded back.
Under the previous order, the Senator from Tennessee was to be recognized for a colloquy, but the Senator is not here.
Mr. FAIRCLOTH addressed the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Carolina.
Mr. FAIRCLOTH. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the colloquy of the Senator from Tennessee be entered in the Record and I may be permitted to introduce my amendment at this time.
Mr. LEVIN. Reserving the right to object, the unanimous consent request was that the colloquy of the Senator from Tennessee be entered into the Record at this time.
Mr. FAIRCLOTH. That was my request.
Mr. LEVIN. I want to see if there is an objection to that because----
Mr. FORD. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, I thought the Senator from Tennessee would be here to do his own business and I didn't realize the Senator from North Carolina was going to make the motion. I prefer that he not make it so I can have an opportunity--I understood the Senator from North Carolina will have an amendment he will propose.
Mr. FAIRCLOTH. That is correct.
Mr. FORD. Why don't I object to the colloquy of the Senator from Tennessee being entered into the Record, set that aside, so when the colloquy goes in, I will have an opportunity then to present my side of the question; would that be agreeable?
Mr. FAIRCLOTH. That would be satisfactory with me.
Mr. FORD. So they are withdrawing the unanimous consent request.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The request is withdrawn.
Mr. FAIRCLOTH. Now, has the debate terminated on the Bumpers amendment?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. It has.
If there is no objection, the Senator from North Carolina is recognized.
Mr. WARNER. The Senator from North Carolina would now be recognized according to the time agreement.
Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, parliamentary inquiry just to clarify the situation. As I understand the situation, the Senator from North Carolina is going to then proceed with his amendment now, ahead of the colloquy of the Senator from Tennessee and the Senator from Kentucky. Is that correct?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. That is the Chair's understanding.
Mr. LEVIN. That time has been reserved to the Senators from Tennessee and Kentucky?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator is correct.
Mr. LEVIN. I thank the Chair.....................
Mr. WARNER. Now, Mr. President, we turn to the Bumpers amendment. We will have the 10-minute rollcall vote, preceded by 1 minute to Senator Bumpers and 1 minute to Senator Coats.
I wish to advise the Senate that following the Bumpers amendment there will be a period not to exceed 25 minutes allocated to the following Senators to speak: Senator Levin, Senator Snowe, Senator Kennedy, Senator Coats, Senator Byrd. This is preceding the Byrd amendment. It is hoped that not all of that time will be used. So there will be a period following the Bumpers amendment, not to exceed 25 minutes.
I suggest the Chair recognize the Senator from Arkansas, Mr. Bumpers, for the purpose of speaking on his amendment.
Mr. BUMPERS. Mr. President, we are embarked on buying the most expensive fighter plane in the history of the United States. As a matter of fact, three times more expensive than any fighter plane in the history of the United States, the F-22, $182 million each, $62 billion total--which will surely go to $100 to $125 billion before we are finished.
When we first started talking about it, the Air Force said we will test this plane, preproduction, 1,400 hours. In 1997, they said no, 600 hours. Now this bill says 183 hours, if the Secretary will certify a couple of little deals. You wouldn't buy a golf cart that hadn't been tested more than 183 hours.
We are going right down the B-1, B-2 lane. I can tell you, we are headed for big-time trouble. All I want to say is, not only is this plane very expensive, it is simply not going to work.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time has expired.
Mr. COATS. Mr. President, this may sound surprising, but the committee agrees with Senator Bumpers. We have studied this and we absolutely have language in this bill that requires testing before we buy or before we fly.
We have carefully worked out a compromise on this issue with the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Air Force, contractors, Members of Congress--those for the F-22 and those against the F-22--to ensure adequate testing, but also to do so in a way that doesn't add unnecessary costs--some estimated at more than billions of dollars by delayed production--by unnecessary testing. The Secretary of Defense has to certify before we can go forward.
We urge people to support the committee position. We studied this and we agree with Senator Bumpers: More testing before we fly--but not as much as Senator Bumpers thinks we need.
Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
There is a sufficient second.
The yeas and nays were ordered.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the amendment. The yeas and nays have been ordered and the clerk will call the roll.
The assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
Mr. NICKLES. I announce that the Senator from Delaware (Mr. Roth) is necessarily absent.
I further announce that the Senator from Arkansas (Mr. Hutchinson) is absent due to a death in family.
I also announce that the Senator from Pennsylvania (Mr. Specter) is absent because of illness.
Mr. FORD. I announce that the Senator from Hawaii (Mr. Akaka), the Senator from Montana (Mr. Baucus), the Senator from Ohio (Mr. Glenn), and the Senator from West Virginia (Mr. Rockefeller) are necessarily absent.
I also announce that the Senator from Oregon (Mr. Wyden) is absent due to a family illness.
I further announce that, if present and voting, the Senator from Oregon (Mr. Wyden) would vote `aye.'
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber desiring to vote?
The result was announced--yeas 19, nays 73, as follows:
The amendment (No. 3012) was rejected.
Mr. THURMOND. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote by which the amendment was rejected.
Mr. WARNER. I move to lay that motion on the table.
The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.
Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, we are making great progress. I think momentarily we can dispose of a request for the need for a rollcall vote.