Mulvaney Amendments to MilCon Approps Attack Budget Gimmick

National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert

NTU urges all Representatives to vote “YES” on the FOUR amendments sponsored by Rep. Mulvaney (R-SC) to H.R. 4974, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017.

These amendments would strike all Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding in the underlying bill. By shifting base budget spending to OCO to circumvent the Budget Control Act’s spending caps and taking an extremely broad view of what constitutes a “contingency,” H.R.4974 perpetuates OCO’s permanent “slush fund” legacy to taxpayers’ detriment.

It’s true that the projects designated to be funded through OCO are “overseas,” but making funds explicitly available through September 30, 2021, underscores the fact that this appropriations exercise is not about simply meeting contingencies. Military construction is and should be carefully planned. Likewise, it should be budgeted for in advance — through the base budget. There it would be properly subject to the caps taxpayers rely on to restrain out-of-control spending in Washington.

NTU has consistently opposed the misuse of OCO funds to avoid prioritization and the reduction of wasteful spending in the Department of Defense base budget account. The amendments sponsored by Rep. Mulvaney would help impose much needed spending discipline and reduce Congress’ reliance on deplorable budget gimmicks.

Roll call votes on the Mulvaney Amendments to H.R. 4974 will be included in our annual Rating of Congress and a “YES” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.