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Project on Government Oversight

Bipartisan Groups Urge House to Pass Smart Spending Amendments on NDAA

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June 13, 2013

June 13, 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 help make America safer by making the hard decisions our national security requires.

As you prepare to vote on H.R. 1960, the National Defense Authorization Act of FY14 (NDAA), we hope you will consider ways to spend in accordance with the current law. The current bill authorizes $552 billion for defense—$54 billion above current law spending caps. 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 week, 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.

The White House has also weighed in via its Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) on the NDAA. Specifically, the SAP objects to a number of programs about which Congress has ignored the advice of our military leaders and provided funding that is neither requested nor desired.

We believe there are smart ways to achieve 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.

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

Aircraft Carriers

#2 Blumenauer (OR), Mulvaney (SC)
Reduces from 11 to 10 the statutory requirement for the number of operational carriers that the U.S. Navy must have. This only affects the legislative carrier requirement; the Navy would make the determination.

Troops in Europe

#37 Coffman (CO), Griffith (VA), Polis (CO), Blumenauer (OR)
Directs the President of the United States to end the permanent basing of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment (2CR) in Vilseck, Germany and return the Brigade Combat Team currently stationed in Europe to the United States, without permanent replacement, leaving one Brigade Combat Team and one Combat Aviation Brigade--nothing in this amendment should be construed as directing the removal of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, nor certain quick-reaction forces.

NASCAR Sponsorship

#25 McCollum (MN)
Prohibits any funds authorized in the bill from being used to sponsor Army National Guard professional wrestling sports sponsorships or motor sports sponsorships. The amendment does not prohibit recruiters from making direct, personal contact with secondary school students and other prospective recruits.

Topline Cut

#32 Nolan (MN)
Reduces total funds authorized in this Act by $60 Billion. This will bring the spending level in the bill to be approximately in line with the level mandated in existing law.

Eliminating $5b OCO Plus-up above Pentagon Request

#39 Van Hollen (MD), Moran, James (VA), Mulvaney (SC)
Matches the President’s budget request for Overseas Contingency Operations.

These are just a handful of the many recommendations our groups and other experts have offered for finding savings in the Pentagon budget. Unfortunately, you and your colleagues will not be allowed to vote on several other amendments that we supported because the House Rules Committee inexplicably rejected them. Still, we hope you will support these five amendments which are each a step in the right direction.

The American people are counting on your courage to stand up to the status quo that has squandered far too many taxpayer dollars in the name of national security. We urge you to vote for sensible savings to make our country stronger and our future more secure.

Sincerely,

American Friends Service Committee

Coalition to Reduce Spending

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Fund for Constitutional Government

National Priorities Project

National Taxpayers Union

Peace Action

Peace Action West

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Progressive Democrats of America (PDA)

Project On Government Oversight (POGO)

R Street Institute

Republican Liberty Caucus

Taxpayers for Common Sense

Taxpayers Protection Alliance

USAction

Win Without War

Women’s Action for New Directions

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