NTU urges all Representatives to vote as follows on H.R. 2397, the Fiscal Year 2014 Department of Defense Appropriations Act
July 23, 2013
As the House begins consideration of amendments to H.R. 2397, the Fiscal Year 2014 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, NTU urges Representatives to support those amendments that help to restrain military spending as well as encourage greater fiscal transparency and accountability at the Pentagon. To that end, NTU will consider “YES” votes on the following amendments to be the pro-taxpayer position:
- Amendments #156 & 157: Jackson Lee (D-TX): These amendments, though extremely modest, would save taxpayers $3 million by reducing funds for Procurement and applying the same amount to the Spending Reduction Account.
- Amendment #92: Polis (D-CO): This amendment would save taxpayers $107 million by striking 14 ground-based interceptors and applying the savings to deficit reduction. Projected to cost over $40 billion by 2017, recent failed tests of elements in Ground-Based Midcourse Defense program have raised questions about the effectiveness of this technology. Congress should consider all options before moving forward with more purchases.
- Amendment #125: Nadler (D-NY), Garamendi (D-CA), Polis (D-CO): This amendment would cut $70 million in unrequested funds for the East Coast Missile Defense site and apply the savings to deficit reduction. The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency noted “no validated military requirement” at this time for the project.
- Amendments #59, #64, #66, #69, and 48: Walberg (D-MI), Cohen (D-TN), Esty (D-CT), Rigell (R-VA); Cicilline (D-RI); Cohen (D-TN); Esty (D-CT); and Rigell (R-VA): The first four amendments would reduce funding from the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund by varying degrees ($79 million, $279 million, $139 million, and $25 million respectively) with all savings applied to deficit reduction. The last of these would prevent new projects from being commenced with Fund resources. The Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund has long been a source of waste and mismanagement with millions on hand unspent; these amendments would help to prompt a thorough review of reconstruction plans going forward.
- Amendment #43: Coffman (R-CO), Garamendi (D-CA), Murphy (D-FL), Cohen (D-TN): This amendment would decrease the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund by $553.8 million and apply the savings to deficit reduction, shelving plans for 30 Mi-17 helicopters via the Rosoboronexport company that was awarded a non-competitive contract for the aircraft – a warning sign that taxpayers may not be getting the best deal for their dollars. The Rosoboronexport arrangement has also been clouded by controversy and in the prior Congress, the House voted for a halt to future funding.
- Amendment #129: Flores (R-TX), Gingrey (R-GA), Conaway (R-TX), Hensarling (R-TX): This amendment saves taxpayers money by permitting the DOD to purchase the most cost-effective fuels, including those from “unconventional” sources.
- Amendment #68: Coffman (R-CO), Murphy (D-FL): This amendment would prohibit maintenance or improvement funds from going to facilities that DoD characterizes as “completely unused.” While the savings from this proposal may not be immediately determinable, the amendment would help to foster more diligent inventory management.
- Amendment #44: Mulvaney (R-SC), Van Hollen (D-MD), Coffman (R-CO), Murphy (D-FL):Although not technically structured for affirmative deficit reduction, by reducing Overseas Contingency Operations Funds by $3.55 billion this amendment brings planned expenditures more in line with the President’s request and encourages more prudent prioritization of resources in the future.
Several amendments to H.R. 2397 would be detrimental to the cause of pro-taxpayer reform; NTU urges “NO votes on the following:
- Amendment #39: Hanabusa (D-HI): This amendment would prevent implementation of any fee for the Tricare for Life program, shutting off one of many avenues for reform to military benefit programs that deserve thoughtful consideration.
- Amendments #35 and #90: Wittmann (R-VA) and Broun (R-GA): Questions have been raised about the cost-effectiveness of some Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) actions, but blocking funds for the process, as these amendments would do, is not the solution. Rather, Congress and DoD should better plan future BRAC rounds.
Congress must consider other options to rightsize military spending without hurting readiness; until that time, the decisions made on these amendments can help to frame what is a necessary debate. Roll call votes on these amendments to H.R. 2397 will be included in our annual Rating of Congress.
If you have any questions, please contact NTU Federal Affairs Manager Nan Swift (703) 683-5700