COGC Sends Letter to Congress Regarding NDAA
Today, COGC joined by Americans for Tax Reform, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance sent the following letter to the hill regarding the National Defense Authorization Act.
The Honorable Buck McKeon
Chairman, House Armed Services Committee
Dear Chairman McKeon,
As the House of Representatives moves to consider the National Defense Authorization Act this week, we write to urge lawmakers to pursue reform in military spending. We firmly believe the country will be unable to provide for its common defense if spending restraint is not considered an equally important national security imperative.
It is time lawmakers dispose of the myth that increased spending equivocates with increased security. In fact, in today’s fiscal climate, nothing could be further from the truth. The final Authorization bill totals $554.2 billion, $8 billion above the caps set in the Budget Control Act (BCA) agreed to last year. Policymakers should be emboldened by the commonsense constraints in the BCA to spend smarter, rather than use them as an excuse to protect waste.
What’s more, the Committee report is grossly out of line with the Appropriations bill. Lawmakers truly interested in providing for the national defense should be loath to protect earmarks and budget waste, imperiling efficient passage of an Authorization bill.
The Appropriations Committee identified billions in unnecessary spending, bringing their bill in $45 billion below the Armed Services Committee mark. Recognizing that inertia is a poor justification for policy, the committee axed $400.9 million for the Medium Extended Altitude Defense System (MEADS), a program that has been plagued by cost overruns and drawn resources away from more effective missile defense initiatives.
We applaud the Armed Services Committee for also refusing to allow funds for this defunct program. We urge members, as leaders on smart defense spending decisions, to resist any effort to reinstate funds for what has become a symbol for parochial defense spending waste.
However, other efforts to reform the bias for unaccountable defense spending are not included in the bill. Absent are requirements for broader and more comprehensive audits, as well as serious inspection of exploding procurement costs. These initiatives must become part of the discussion if taxpayers are ever to be confident their dollars are supporting the most streamlined and effective military possible.
We applaud the steps you have made to eliminate waste and request you strive to instill more restraint in defense spending. Your effort to eliminate the wasteful MEADS system is an encouraging signal that we can work together to root out waste in defense budgets. We look forward to doing so as the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 winds its way through Congress.
Americans for Tax Reform
Cost of Government Center
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Taxpayers Protection Alliance