The House's chief defense appropriator said Wednesday that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is "noncommittal" on splitting the $35 billion contract for an aerial refueling tanker, despite an earlier public stance in firm opposition to such a proposal. "He listened to what I had to say," said Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., regarding a Tuesday meeting with the Pentagon chief. "There were three or four points that the secretary made that he wasn't willing to negotiate on. [The tanker] wasn't one of them." Murtha said he plans to include language in the 2010 defense appropriations bill that would require the Pentagon to double or triple the pace of tanker purchases, though it would be up to Gates to decide whether those purchases would come from one supplier or two.
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