On behalf of our organizations and our combined memberships, we urge you to oppose a provision in the Chairman’s mark of the Fiscal Year 2017 Defense Appropriations Bill when the bill is debated in subcommittee this afternoon.
Last year’s Floor amendment by Representatives Huffman and McClintock ended a decades-long program to ship a particular grade of coal from northeastern Pennsylvania to heat several U.S. military bases in Germany. This program began, on a much larger scale, in 1961. But although its scope has narrowed over the years, the requirement still existed in the Committee’s version of the Fiscal Year 2016 bill, 54 years later.
The Huffman/McClintock amendment was put to a recorded vote on the Floor and won by a significant margin, 252 in favor and 159 opposed.
Unfortunately, the FY17 Chairman’s mark resurrects this requirement in a slightly modified form. While previous language prohibited the modernization of the heating plants at U.S. military installations in the Kaiserslautern Military Community in Germany to be fired by any fuel other than coal, the new language appears to allow the Secretary of the Air Force to modernize the heating plants, but goes on to state, “Provided, That in the City of Kaiserslautern and at the Rhine Ordnance Barracks area, such agreements shall include the use of energy sourced domestically within the United States as the base load energy for municipal district heat to the United States Defense installations.”
As you know, the use of the word “shall” ties the hands of the Pentagon. The energy source still must come from the U.S. and be shipped across the Atlantic Ocean. You may hear the argument that the coal, or other energy, must come from the U.S. or the Air Force will be forced to buy it from Russia. Don’t be fooled. Germany also produces anthracite coal.
We urge you to strip this provision from the Chairman’s mark. To do so is a vote for fiscally conservative values and against the continuation of another outdated government subsidy.
Coalition to Reduce Spending
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
National Taxpayers Union
Taxpayers for Common Sense
Taxpayers Protection Alliance