Subject: Congress uses trickery to exceed budget caps in Defense Authorization Act.
For Immediate Release
Date: December 1, 2016
Today, a coalition of twenty left-right groups sent a letter to every Member of Congress calling out the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) released out of conference yesterday for using trickery to exceed budget caps, which are a matter of law, and urging them not to enact it with the billions of dollars unrequested by the Pentagon.
“What was a bad idea at $18 billion is still a bad idea at $3.2 billion. We strongly urge you to scrap any plans to fund the [Overseas Contingency Operations] account above the levels set in existing law and finally pursue a path of fiscal responsibility at the Pentagon,” write the groups.
As the letter suggests, making America safe requires making choices, not engaging in cheap (and yet very expensive) tricks that throw taxpayer money into an off-the-books account to sidestep current law.
Full text of the letter is below and online.
December 1, 2016
Dear Senator /Representative,
The recently released conference report for the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would authorize an additional $3.2 billion unrequested by the Pentagon, effectively exceeding the spending limits set in place previously by Congress as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011 and Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. As organizations representing Americans across the political spectrum, we are writing to voice our disagreement with this tactic.
The very real challenges facing our military are not the result of a lack of funds. They are the result of years of failing to make necessary, tough choices our nation’s security requires. If Congress votes to simply throw additional billions of dollars at this problem by using a budgetary gimmick involving the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account, you will do nothing to solve these problems. Rather, you will simply be guaranteeing another year of massive spending at the Pentagon. Refusing to make hard choices and trade-offs does not strengthen our security, it undermines it.
Earlier this year, many of our organizations expressed our opposition to the House Armed Services Committee’s draft NDAA which included an $18 billion gimmick to fund the OCO account above previously agreed upon levels. What was a bad idea at $18 billion is still a bad idea at $3.2 billion. We strongly urge you to scrap any plans to fund the OCO account above the levels set in existing law and finally pursue a path of fiscal responsibility at the Pentagon.
Campaign for Liberty
Center for International Policy
Coalition to Reduce Spending
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Just Foreign Policy
National Priorities Project
National Taxpayers Union
Project on Government Oversight
Taxpayers for Common Sense
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Taxpayers United of America
The Libertarian Institute
The London Center
United for Peace and Justice
Win Without War
Women’s Action for New Directions