Washington: Having submitted a 2012 budget plan aimed at slashing the budget deficit by $1.1 trillion over a 10-year period, US president Barack Obama won an important victory on Wednesday in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives when it voted to kill a costly alternative engine for the next-generation US fighter jet.
The engine programme was slated to cost $3 billion over the next few years and $450 million this year alone.
The vote marks a turn-around from where the House stood last year under Democratic control and it reflected a sustained bid by the administration to win over the votes of scores of Republican freshmen elected last November on campaign promises to cut the budget.
The 233-198 tally was also a big blow for Republican House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, whose state reaps about 1,000 jobs from the engine programme which has General Electric Co and the UK firm Rolls-Royce collaborating on an alternative engine for the F-35 tactical stealth fighter.
The main F-35 fighter engine is built by Pratt & Whitney. Former president George W Bush had tried, unsuccessfully, to kill the second engine.
The F-35 programme is already the costliest weapons programme in US Defence Department history.
The battle is far from over, however, as the Democratic-controlled Senate supports the second engine. That, coupled with House Speaker Boehner's last ditch efforts, could yet keep the programme alive.