COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio says Defense Secretary Robert Gates has assured him that 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 Gates last week stating that Congress intended to fund the engine program through March 4, despite the Pentagon’s opposition to it.

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

The Obama administration has said spending on a second engine is unnecessary and impedes the progress of the Joint Strike Fighter program.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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