In an article published yesterday, former Republican presidential candidate Senator Sam Brownback states that the Air Force's decision to award the tanker deal to France-based Airbus instead of Boeing is not over.
The closing line of the article is the most telling. Senator Brownback,
In the FY09 budget the Air Force has requested $831.759 M for the "Next Generation Aerial Refueling Aircraft", which is a new budget item. (Source: pg 34, line #83 of FY09 RTD&E Programs Budget) It also still has available in FY09 $239.8 M from the "Tanker Replacement Transfer Fund," which are funds remaining from FY05 and FY08 appropriations that went unspent.
"states he is hopeful that when the U.S. House sends the fiscal year 2009 defense bill to the Senate it will include language that 'slows down' the Airbus contract, and the Senate will act in similar fashion."
So, the total to be available to the Air Force if allowed to continue with the purchase of the EADS tanker in FY09 would be $1.0716 billion. Given the overwhelming sentiment of both the House and the Senate, the Air Force should not expect authorization or appropriation of anywhere near that amount.