NTU Vote Alert: First Round NDAA Amendments

(This is the first of several vote alerts regarding H.R. 4909 that will be issued as amendments are made in order.)

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. 11 (filed as #89), Thornberry (R-TX): This amendment would cap the full-time staff of the National Security Council (NSC) at 100. Additional staff over 100 would trigger additional Congressional oversight and the Senate confirmation of the National Security Advisor. NSC staffing has greatly expanded in recent years with current staff estimates between 350 and 400, nearly twice its size during the former administration. Capping NSC staff at 100 would create a more efficient and responsive environment for decision-making and pave the way for consideration of similar reforms in large bureaucracies at the Pentagon.

  • Amd. 46 (filed as #16), Burgess (R-TX), Schakowsky (D-IL), DeFazio (D-OR), Welch (D-VT): This amendment would require a report ranking all military department and Defense Agencies in order of how advanced they are in achieving auditable financial statements. The Department of Defense (DOD), the largest department of the federal government in terms of discretionary spending, remains the only agency not able to comply with the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990. Repeated incidents of wasteful spending underscore the need to for the Pentagon to get its books in order. The Government Accountability Office’s 2015 “High Risk” report explained that a lack of auditability has made it harder for the DOD to control costs, root out waste and fraud, and anticipate future liabilities. It is imperative to both taxpayers and service people that good stewardship of funds and passing an audit are a priority for the Pentagon.

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

  • Amd. 60 (filed as #362), Zinke (R-MT), Rogers (R-AL): This amendment’s strictures would have the effect of preventing or deterring a fully competitive procurement process for the UH-1N Twin Huey replacement. Last Wednesday’s decision by the Air Force to hold an open competition for the replacement will help to quickly deliver an aircraft for a critical mission in a fiscally responsible manner. The improved procurement method for the Twin Huey is an important opportunity for the Air Force to avoid the acquisition boondoggles of recent years. A transparent and open process that explores the options (which are well-developed and can be quickly evaluated) fairly can save both lives and tax dollars. Congress should be embracing this model for more programs, rather than undermining it.

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