April 30, 2015
Representatives Mulvaney (R-SC) and Van Hollen (D-MD) are sponsoring amendments to cut several overseas military construction projects from the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) portion of the Appropriations bill funding Military Construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs. We hope these amendments can be the beginning of a healthy debate over proper uses of the OCO account.
Putting more than half a billion in military construction projects in the OCO part of the budget is exactly the kind of thing our organizations believe must be stopped. If these projects in Bahrain, Djibouti, Italy, Oman, Poland and Niger are important to our national defense, the Pentagon should fund them out of its “base” budget where they are subject to the Budget Control Act (BCA) caps.
Putting them in the OCO accounts, simply because they are overseas, is an unacceptable attempt to build them with “free” money from the slush fund. Military construction has been squeezed in the last few years – the FY15 appropriations level was $4.7 billion. Adding a greater than 10% bump in the OCO slush fund may be the easy way out…but that doesn’t make it right.
It is clear that military construction is not a contingency; military construction is carefully planned for in advance.
Placing overseas military construction in the OCO account is a transparent dodge to avoid the BCA caps. We are asking the House leadership to allow straightforward votes on these amendments so we can see who is serious about cutting spending and adhering to the BCA – the only way to avoid sequestration.
Ryan Alexander, President
Pete Sepp, President
Taxpayers for Common Sense
National Taxpayers Union