An open letter to the Congress: Spending smarter on defense can make us stronger
Our organizations don’t agree on many issues, but we have come together to ask Congress, as it finalizes the Department of Defense portion of the Fiscal Year 2014 omnibus appropriations bill, to remember that spending on ineffective weapons systems and wasteful Pentagon programs does not make us safer, but spending smarter can make us stronger.
Last month, Congress enacted a bipartisan budget deal that altered sequestration levels for defense and non-defense agencies alike. In FY 2014, the Pentagon would have been facing a $20 billion cut. However, the new budget deal increases the cap on defense spending to more than $520 billion, up from $498 billion. We believe that the Pentagon could have accommodated the lower spending level of $498 billion, which existed before the new budget deal’s enactment.
Nonetheless, the appropriations committees in both chambers are in the final stages of crafting an omnibus appropriations package that will conform to the new statutory spending cap. However, the military spending bills that Congress had been drafting all last year are still marked at roughly $30 billion above the new spending cap.
Indeed, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, who also serves as the Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, recently remarked on the upcoming defense bill that, “We have to cut spending. This is not a growth appropriations bill.” Senator Durbin further proclaimed that it “won’t be
While implementing reform and spending reductions at the Pentagon is no simple task, our organizations from across the ideological spectrum have, for the past three years, released numerous recommendations that could save hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars if not more. These smart, prudent, and strategic recommendations would enhance America’s security posture for decades to come. To be clear, we do not agree among ourselves on every recommendation listed here. However, we are united in the belief that there are plenty of ways to strategically target pork-barrel projects and programs designed to fight the Cold War instead of 21st century threats. We hope you will give them your full consideration as you craft spending bills for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2014.
The signatories to this letter are:
American Friends Service Committee, Americans for Tax Reform, Campaign for America’s Future, Campaign for Liberty, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, Citizens Against Government Waste, Coalition on Human Needs, Coalition to Reduce Spending, Come Home America, Cost of Government Center, CREDO, DownsizeDC.org, FreedomWorks, Friends Committee on National Legislation, National Priorities Project, National Taxpayers Union, Peace Action, Progressive Democrats of America, Project On Government Oversight, R Street Institute, Republican Liberty Caucus, Take Back Washington, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, USAction, U.S. PIRG, Win Without War, Women’s Action for New Directions