Senators to Pentagon: Don't Waste Defense Dollars
Despite the rancor from the mainstream media, bipartisan agreement on cutting wasteful spending still exists in Washington today. Though some have suggested the threat of the coming defense sequester will prod otherwise fiscally conservative members into agreeing to tax hikes, Congressional action is proving the opposite to be true - today, a bipartisan group of Senators urged the Pentagon to eliminate wasteful military spending to preserve resources for security priorities. From their letter:
As the Department of Defense (DOD) begins operations under the Continuing Resolution (CR) we write to strongly encourage the Department’s adherence to the law and the Congressional guidance pertaining to the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS).
This law is clear that no additional funds for MEADS can be legally obligated in FY 2012 and 2013. Disregarding Congressional direction and intent, DOD included in the President’s Budget an additional $401 million for this one program the Department does not even intend to procure. We understand the requested funding is mainly designated for activities in Germany and Italy in support of jobs overseas.
We urge you to consider that the DOD must still cut a minimum of $487 billion from its budget in the coming years. With a national debt surpassing $16 trillion, we can no longer afford to waste taxpayer money developing weapons programs the warfighter will never use. In March 2010 it was widely reported the Army found "the system will not meet U.S. requirements or address the current and emerging threat without extensive and costly modifications." The program has been plagued with cost overruns of nearly $2 billion and is 10 years behind schedule. With budget constraints and well-documented development problems with MEADS these modifications are not a feasible option.
This isn't the first time the Administration would attempt to undermine Congressional efforts to trim pork-barrel spending. But the Pentagon would do well to learn from the times it has attempted to revive wasteful spending behind the backs of fiscal watchdogs - it's not an effort that usually succeeds.
The letter is signed by Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), David Vitter (R-La.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.).