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Originally published Monday, February 21, 2011 at 4:00 PM

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Federal vote on engine contract shows who is serious about budget trimming

The Seattle Times editorial board applauds members of Congress who voted Feb. 16 to cut off funding for the GE/Rolls-Royce substitute engines for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

MEMBERS of Congress of both parties say they are for America living within its means. But unless they are willing to trim things they like, their genuflections to fiscal responsibility are false.

This applies to both parties. Today we notice it with the Republicans because they are in power in the House, and because they make the loudest noise about spending — a noise we applaud.

The House voted Wednesday on money for an engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The F-35 already has an engine made by Pratt & Whitney, in Connecticut. The vote was about a substitute engine to be made by General Electric and Rolls-Royce in Indiana and Ohio.

The idea is that if one engine turns out to be a lemon, the military can buy the other one. Such duplication is an idea born of flush times, and to follow it now is irresponsible.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has said a second engine is not necessary for the national defense. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is convinced that it is — so, last Wednesday, was every other member, Republican or Democrat, from Indiana and Ohio.

Last year when this came up, the Democratic House voted for the extra engine. This year an interesting thing happened. Democratic liberals teamed up with tea-party Republicans and killed it.

This page disagrees with the tea-party folks on a number of things, but not about this. They are for trimming spending, and they really mean it. On Wednesday, 110 Republicans voted to kill the engine. With Democratic support, they did it.

Good for them. We wish at least one of this state's four Republicans had voted with them.

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