The Insider

White House opposes Senate appropriators' proposed restriction on F-35 transfers to Turkey

By John Liang  
July 10, 2018 at 3:22 PM

The White House is opposing Senate appropriators' proposed efforts to restrict the transfer of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to Turkey.

In a July 9 letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL), Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney discusses the committee's June 21 mark-up of the fiscal year 2019 State Department and Foreign Operations spending bill.

Part of the language in that bill, if enacted, would restrict the use of funding for the transfer of F-35 aircraft to Turkey.

The committee states that such transfers should not be allowed "until the Secretary of State certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that the government of Turkey is not purchasing the S-400 missile defense system from Russia and will not accept the delivery of such system."

In his letter, however, Mulvaney argues that "Turkey is an important NATO ally, and has been an international participant with the F-35 program since 2002. The administration shares the Congress's concerns over recent Turkish actions but opposes language that preemptively restricts its ability to work with Turkey to address those concerns."

Separately, Mulvaney's letter also notes that the administration's FY-19 budget request reflects its "desire to bring more federal spending under the caps reached in the 2018 [Balanced Budget Agreement] by eliminating the use of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding for Function 150 [international affairs] programs.

"The administration encourages the committee to achieve its discretionary topline while eliminating the use of OCO for Function 150 programs as a means of evading the budget caps," the letter continues.