Chairman of Senate Armed Services panel eyes Tuesday vote on F-22

Vote expected to be close, despite Obama's veto promise.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., said Monday his goal is to vote on Tuesday morning on his amendment to eliminate a $1.75 billion provision in the fiscal 2010 defense authorization bill to buy seven Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor jets the Obama administration does not want.

Levin, sponsor of the amendment with Armed Services Committee ranking member John McCain, R-Ariz., continues to expect a close vote despite President Obama's vow to veto any bill that includes money to keep alive the F-22 program, which has enjoyed widespread congressional support for years.

Levin and others had hoped to vote on the amendment as early as Monday, but there is not a time agreement on a Republican amendment to the bill that would allow people with permits to carry concealed firearms to travel into other states that have concealed-carry laws.

Debate on that amendment, sponsored by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., will come after the Senate disposes of four hate crimes-related amendments to the bill Monday afternoon. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said opponents of Thune's language "will do everything we can to stop this poisonous amendment from being enacted."

The F-22 amendment is up next after the Thune amendment.