Alternate fighter jet engine funded until March 4

Ohio's U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown says funding will continue for an alternate engine for the Pentagon's next-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet.

Brown and fellow Democratic Sens. John Kerry, of Massachusetts, and Patrick Leahy, of Vermont, had sent a letter to Department of Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week stating Congress intended to fund the engine program through March 4 despite the Pentagon's opposition to it.

The Department of Defense said in a statement Thursday that Gates continues to oppose the need for an extra engine and that current funding isn't due to a change in position but is being implemented because the prior year's funding expired. Funding is still slated to end March 4.

The engine is being developed by a General Electric Co. unit outside Cincinnati. Fairfield, Conn.-based GE makes the engine with London-based Rolls-Royce.