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Bipartisan Letter Calls for Reducing the Pentagon Budget

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Twenty-two Representatives—11 Democrats and 11 Republicans—sent a letter on Monday to the President and House and Senate leadership endorsing sensible cuts to defense spending as part of any final deficit-reduction deal.

Representatives Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) led the charge. (Earlier this year, the House passed an important bipartisan amendment offered by Reps. Mulvaney and Barney Frank (D-Mass.) to freeze Pentagon spending at current levels.)

The Project On Government Oversight applauds the lawmakers who signed onto the bipartisan letter for asserting that “defense savings can be achieved over the long-term, without compromising national security, through strategic reductions in the Pentagon’s budget.” Balanced cuts targeting DoD waste and mismanagement will ensure that our country is stronger and our future more secure.

This letter is further evidence of the growing support for reining in profligate Pentagon spending. Only a few months ago, hawks and defense industry CEOs mounted an elaborate media campaign to scare the public (and Congress) into thinking that such cuts spelled impending doom. Now a rising chorus of voices from the right and left is calling for trimming the fat in the defense budget in order to get our fiscal house in order.

Conferees are currently hammering out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bloated defense budget bill (National Defense Authorization Act or NDAA). To put things in perspective with regards to the dreaded “fiscal cliff” we are supposedly fast approaching, the Senate NDAA authorizes a staggering $631 billion for Fiscal Year 2013 (hardly reflecting the current climate of austerity). Though that does weigh in at $3 billion less than the House bill, much more must be done to cut waste at the Pentagon.

In this bipartisan letter, lawmakers point to a range of recent proposals for Pentagon spending cuts from “respected policy organizations across the political spectrum.” The ideas are out there, such as the recommendations POGO made with our ally Taxpayers for Common Sense—now it is up to Congress to roll up their sleeves and make the tough decisions. Leaving the defense budget off the table during grand-bargain negotiations is simply not an option.

Signatories of the letter recommend reshaping the Pentagon budget to better reflect our current security needs:

The Pentagon’s budget has increased dramatically over the last decade, due in large part to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. As we transition from wartime to peacetime, and as we confront our nation’s fiscal challenges, future defense budgets should reflect the conclusion of these wars and acknowledge that our modern military is able to approach conflicts utilizing fewer—but more advanced—resources.

We couldn’t agree more.

By: Suzanne Dershowitz
Public Policy Fellow, POGO

suzanne dershowitz At the time of publication Suzie Dershowitz was a public policy fellow for the Project On Government Oversight.

Topics: National Security

Related Content: Budget, Deficit, Sequester, Wasteful Defense Spending

Authors: Suzanne Dershowitz

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