December 17, 2009
Quick Look Analysis of 2010 Defense Department Appropriations Conference Report: Porkers Engaging in Usual Tricks
Thanks to a head's up from Taxpayers for Common Sense, I have taken a quick look at the just now available 2010 DOD Appropriations Conference Report. Remember: this is the bill with the final say on the money; it overrides any money amounts in the DOD Authorization bill, now law, from the armed services committees.
Unlike the HASC and SASC (House and Senate armed services committees), the appropriations porkers have not changed their squiggly little tails; they have continued to raid the Military Personnel and O&M accounts to pay for their pork.
What I see is the following:
- $1.9 billion in gross reductions to the Military Personnel (pay) account based on the arbitrary justification that there was need for an "undistributed adjustment," or in some cases "reimbursables."
- $2.1 billion in net reductions from the O&M account in the base bill; $1.4 billion of that reduction was based on phony justifications (indirectly based on some flimsy GAO analysis never made public), such as "historic underexecution." (If you want to review my analysis of this flimsy GAO analysis , see it here.)
- The House and Senate Appropriations Committees also raided the direct war fighting O&M account in Title IX of the bill by $1.5 billion.
- Total O&M raids, thus, amount to $3.6 billion.
Taxpayers for Common Sense tallied up the 1,720 earmarks in the bill costing $4.2 billion, but as TCS stated, that's just the earmarks they will admit to. Not counted in that tally are the 10 C-17s for $2.5 billion, nine F-18s for a half a billion dollars (in the war funding part of the bill), plus the added $465 million for the GE engine, plus ???
Congress' behavior on pork in defense bills, and especially how they pay for it, remains as atrocious as ever. The porkers on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees are clearly happy to lead the charge of raiding training, spare parts, weapons maintenance and much else for readiness to pay for their pork. It is virtually assured that the vast majority of the House and Senate, and President Obama, will endorse this bill and this behavior - while simultaneously crowing how much they support the soldiers and Marines now serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Surely, the closer and longer we look at this bill, the worse it will get, but that will be nothing new. However, because the House and Senate will be voting on this bill very soon, some might find this "quick look" analysis useful.
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Director, Straus Military Reform Project, CDI at POGO, POGO
Mr. Wheeler's areas of expertise include Congress, the Defense Budget, National Security, Pentagon Reform and Weapons Systems
The goal of the Straus Military Reform Project is to secure far more effective military forces and much more ethical and professional military and civilian leadership at significantly lower budget levels.
We would like to thank Philip A. Straus Jr. and family for their generous support.