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NTU Vote Alert: Second Round NDAA Amendments

by Nan Swift / /

National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert

(This is the second of several vote alerts regarding H.R. 4909 that will be issued.)

As the House considers H.R. 4909, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, NTU urges Representatives to vote as follows on amendments.  

NTU will consider “YES” votes on the following amendments to be the pro-taxpayer position:

  • Amd. 6 (filed as #189), Polis (D-CO), Lee (D-CA): This amendment would reduce the base Department of Defense (DOD) budget by one percent, excluding military, reserve, and National Guard personnel, and the Defense Health Program. This modest reduction would help prioritize spending and reduce waste.

  • Amd. 21 (filed as #213), Mulvaney (R-SC), Van Hollen (D-MD), Lee (D-CA), Sanford (R-SC): This amendment would codify criteria developed by the Office of Management and Budget to clarify when military spending should be designated as “contingency operations” and properly be part of the Overseas Contingency Operation (OCO) budget. Limiting the use of OCO to its original intent would help prevent the inclination to misuse it as a slush fund or “release valve.” In addition, OCO’s lack of transparency limits accountability to Congress and taxpayers.

  • Amd. 26 (filed as #281), Blumenauer (D-OR), Quigley (D-IL), Polis (R-CO): This amendment would require the Secretary of Defense to submit a report on the total cost of research, production and maintenance of the B-21 aircraft, without revealing any sensitive details to potential adversaries. Especially in light of costly acquisition boondoggles of the past, Congress and taxpayers have a justifiable interest in knowing the full lifetime cost of the B-21.

  • Amd. 27 (filed as #327), Hudson (R-SC): This amendment would require a briefing on whether the Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV) is a suitable candidate for off-the-shelf platforms. This could potentially make an upgraded GMV an effective – and more affordable – replacement for the troubled Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV), which has been plagued with technical challenges. NTU has repeatedly advocated that the GCV be cancelled and the Congressional Budget Office has recommended that the Army pursue alternatives, including cancellation, which would yield $4.6 billion in savings that could be reprogrammed toward a better solution.

  • Amd. 52 (filed as #172), Sanford (R-SC): This amendment would require the Secretary of Defense to account for the total cost of National Guard flyovers at public events and publish them in a public report. Tracking the total cost of flyovers can help ensure that training time and dollars are well-spent.

  • Amd. 53 (filed as #344), Walz (R-MN): This amendment would extend to the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories or possessions a sensible accountability and transparency reform that would require State Adjutants General approvals for Army and Air Force National Guard flyovers within U.S. states.

  • Amd. 107 (filed as #173), Brat (R-VA): This amendment would create a process for a given foreign government to petition DOD to return surplus property to that government, reducing the cost to maintain excess property and infrastructure. The amendment also requires DOD to submit an annual report to Congress detailing petitions received and their status, increasing transparency and oversight of overseas installations.

NTU will consider “NO” votes on the following amendment to be the pro-taxpayer position:

  • Amd. 10 (filed as #301), Lummis (R-WY), Zinke (R-MT), Cramer (R-ND), Rogers (R-AL): This amendment would prevent changes to the alert status or unilateral reduction in the quantity of deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles. Continuing the current policy of require the Air Force to maintain 450 ICBM silos at an elevated alert posture reduces the flexibility necessary to respond to future fiscal and security priorities.

Roll call votes on the above amendments to H.R. 4909 will be included in our annual Rating of Congress.