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Project on Government Oversight

Bipartisan Groups Urge House to Pass Smart Amendments on Pentagon Spending

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July 23, 2013

July 23, 2013

Dear Representative:

We, the leaders of our undersigned organizations may not agree on many things, but we all agree on this: The time has come to reduce wasteful and ineffective spending at the Pentagon. Doing so will not only save valuable tax dollars, it will also help make America safer by making the hard decisions our national security requires.

Today as you prepare to vote on H.R. 2397, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2014, we hope you will consider ways to spend in accordance with the current law.  The current bill appropriates $512.5 billion for the Department of Defense ($28.1 billion above the current level caused by spending cuts) and $85.8 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations ($5 billion more than the Pentagon’s request). Whether or not one supports those caps, it is irresponsible to continue to ignore current law and set our country on the path towards yet another sequestration this fall. 

There is a growing consensus—among members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, policy wonks of various stripes, and even defense industry CEOs—that you can, and should, find areas for substantial savings in the Pentagon’s bloated budget. Last month, two major consensus documents—one from a group of defense experts at organizations from across the political spectrum, and the other from fiscal conservatives—recommended major cuts and reforms in Pentagon spending that could save billions.

We believe there are smart ways to achieve this savings, and urge you to vote in favor of a handful of amendments that have broad, bipartisan support. We urge you to use this opportunity to set a stronger, better, and more sustainable path for our national security. Additionally, we urge you to vote against a handful of amendments that would prevent savings our military leaders have recommended. In a time of fiscal restraint, we cannot afford to put parochial political interests ahead of our national security.

We urge you to vote YES on the following sensible amendments:

Ground-Based Interceptors

#14 (formerly #92) - Polis (CO)

Strikes $107,000,000 for 14 Ground-Based Interceptors, which have been plagued with failures, and reduces the deficit by the same amount.

East Coast Missile Defense

#20 (formerly #125) - Nadler (NY), Garamendi (CA), Polis (CO)

Cuts $70 million of unrequested funds for the East Coast Missile Defense site and dedicates that funding to deficit reduction instead.

Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund

#27 (formerly #59) - Walberg (MI), Cohen (TN), Esty (CT), Rigell (VA)

Reduces the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund by $79 million and transfers the savings to the Spending Reduction Account.

Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund

#28 (formerly #64) - Cicilline (RI)

Reduces appropriations for the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund by $279,000,000 and applies the savings to the Spending Reduction Account.

Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund

#29 (formerly #66) - Cohen (TN)

Reduces the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund from $279 million to $140 million and transfers the savings to deficit reduction.

Afghanistan Security Forces Fund

#30 (formerly #43) - Coffman (CO), Garamendi (CA), Murphy, Patrick (FL), Cohen (TN)

Decreases the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund by $553.8M (contract to Rosoboronexport for 30 Mi-17 helicopters) and increases the Spending Reduction Account by the same amount.

Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund

#36 (formerly #48) - Rigell (VA)

Prohibits funds in the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund from being used to commence new projects.

Overseas Contingency Operations

#55 (formerly #44) - Mulvaney (SC), Van Hollen (MD), Coffman (CO), Murphy, Patrick (FL)

Reduces funds made available in the Overseas Contingency Operations budget by $3,546,000,000 to better correspond with the President’s request. Protects all amounts made available for the National Guard and Reserve Component Equipment modernization shortfalls for homeland defense and emergency response.

Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund

#84 (formerly #69) - Esty (CT)

Reduces funding for the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund by $25,000,000 and redirects those funds to the Spending Reduction Account.

Aviation Demonstration

#96 (formerly #3) - LoBiondo (NJ)

Prohibits funding for Department of Defense aviation demonstration teams to perform outside of the United States.

We urge you to vote NO on the following amendments that would restrict our military leaders from finding strategic savings:

BRAC

#39 (formerly #35) - Wittman (VA)

Provides that none of the funds made available by this Act may be used to propose, plan for, or execute an additional Base Realignment and Closure round, which would streamline infrastructure and save billions.

BRAC

#40 (formerly #90) - Broun (GA)

Prohibits the Department of Defense from using any funds to propose, plan for, or execute an additional Base Realignment and Closure round involving military installations located within the United States.

C-23 Aircraft

#65 (formerly #98) - Bonamici (OR)

Prevents the retirement, divestment, transfer, or preparation to do so of C-23 aircraft used by the National Guard and to designate $34 million for the sustainment and operation of the C-23 aircraft in a viable state.

C-130 Aircraft

#86 (formerly #6) - Griffin (AR)

Provides that none of the funds made available by this Act may be used to cancel or modify the avionics modernization program of record for C–130 aircraft.

Lajes Field Force Structure

#89 (formerly #110) - Nunes (CA), Costa (CA), Langevin (RI), Keating (MA), Cicilline (RI), Valadao (CA)

Prohibits the Secretary of the Air Force from using FY14 funds for the reduction in force structure at Lajes Field, Azores Portugal.

As you begin to vote on the defense appropriations bill, we thank you for considering our broad consensus for finding sensible savings to make our economy and nation more secure.

Sincerely,

 

American Friends Service Committee

Coalition to Reduce Spending

Just Foreign Policy

National Priorities Project

National Taxpayers Union

Peace Action

Peace Action West

Progressive Democrats of America (PDA)

Project On Government Oversight (POGO)

R Street

Taxpayers for Common Sense

Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

Win Without War

USAction

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