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Murtha’s Panel Backs Second Engine: Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) has declared defense appropriators want the Pentagon to pursue the alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Megan Scully of CongressDaily reports that the House Appropriations defense subcommittee has included $480 million in the Fiscal 2008 defense spending bill to pay for continued work by General Electric on the second engine. Murtha’s panel joins with House and Senate armed services committees, which earlier this year directed DOD to continue the GE engine development program in their versions of the 2008 defense policy bill. The Pentagon maintains that a second engine is unnecessary and twice has tried to kill the program over Congressional objections. The Air Force has acknowledged that it is a question of budget priorities and an assumption of slightly greater risk.