The U.S Senate will take up the Defense Authorization Act this week. Lawmakers are expected to discuss the future of the F-22 fighter jet program. As WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports, if production is suspended, thousands of Connecticut jobs could be lost.
About 2-thousand engineers, machinists, and aerospace workers at Pratt and Whitney help build the F-22. But the Pentagon has proposed suspending production to save money with the goal of transitioning to F-35 jets in 2014. The Obama administration supports the measure.
But Senator Chris Dodd says lawmakers don't want to see the F-22 shelved because it will affect jobs across the U.S and hurt the country's industrial base.
"This is not just any motor we're building here at Pratt and Whitney. We're talking about crafting the finest most advanced fighter engine jet systems ever known, ever built. Their innovations in stealth technology, are going to keep our airforce pilots safe and that's of critical importance to our country in my view."
Dodd says the Armed Services Committee voted to approve funding in the defense bill for production of 7 F-22s but Senator John McCain will offer an amendment to strike the jets. And President Obama has indicated he would veto the bill if the jet funding is included.