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Category: Defense



  • MEADS Latest Test is All Window Dressing

    Michi Iljazi on November 7, 2013

    pentagon

    In the throes of sequestration, on the heels of a government shutdown and with our national debt at a record high, it seems like an odd time for the Department of Defense to get into the marketing business.  Yet, a marketing stunt would be the only accurate way to describe yesterday’s  Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS)  “test” at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.  The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has long identified MEADS as the poster child for waste and redundancy at the Department of Defense. It is an easy case to make, and in fact, TPA identified MEADS as one of the biggest taxpayer “Tricks” during this past Halloween (read more here). After more than $2 billion in cost overruns and delays that put development 10 years behind schedule, the Pentagon rightly pulled the plug on the tri-national program in 2011. The Army didn’t want the program because it was too expensive and was plagued by a host of technical problems that confirmed MEADS just wasn’t up to the task. The Government Accountability Office and Congressional Budget Office supported the Army’s conclusions. Yet, here we are some two and half years later and the Department of Defense is still spending taxpayer dollars on the system that TPA has dubbed the “Missile to Nowhere.” In fact, in the last two years alone, our government will have spent another $800 million on this botched program. But what makes yesterday’s test so troubling is that U.S. taxpayers picked up the tab for a stunt that provides zero benefit to our Armed Forces.

    » Read More
  • TPA Celebrates Halloween with Taxpayer Tricks & Treats of 2013!

    David Williams & Michi Iljazi on October 31, 2013

    jack

    Halloween is quickly approaching which means candy, costumes, jack-o-lanterns and cute trick-or-treaters filling neighborhood sidewalks across America. This also means that it is time for the Taxpayer Protection Alliance’s (TPA) annual Trick or Treat fun. The tricks by the government ghosts, ghouls, and goblins are out once again to scare taxpayers.  The biggest trick played on taxpayers is the $17 trillion debt and a debt ceiling that no longer exists (a ghostly disappearing act).  TPA reached down deep into its bag of goodies and found few Treats so taxpayers don’t turn into Zombies.

     

    TRICKS

    Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or “The Green Blob”: No stranger to tricks, the General Services Administration (GSA) and US Green Building Council have been in on one for quite some time and TPA has been there every step of the way to ask the tough questions and continue to expose the reality of the (LEED) certification system. TPA warned about the “new” LEED standards, known as LEED v.4 (click here to read previous blog posting).  LEED v.4 is now set for official use as it has been approved. TPA continues to argue that adopting LEED standards would be harmful for taxpayers and businesses.  GSA officials vanished like a ghost when TPA asked submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Click here to read more on TPA’s efforts to unmask LEED.

    To see the all of TPA's Tricks & Treats, click 'read more' below!

    » Read More
  • TPA Celebrates Halloween with Taxpayer Tricks & Treats of 2013!

    David Williams & Michi Iljazi on October 25, 2013

    jackolantern

    Halloween is quickly approaching which means candy, costumes, jack-o-lanterns and cute trick-or-treaters filling neighborhood sidewalks across America. This also means that it is time for the Taxpayer Protection Alliance’s (TPA) annual Trick or Treat fun. The tricks by the government ghosts, ghouls, and goblins are out once again to scare taxpayers.  The biggest trick played on taxpayers is the $17 trillion debt and a debt ceiling that no longer exists (a ghostly disappearing act).  TPA reached down deep into its bag of goodies and found few Treats so taxpayers don’t turn into Zombies. 

     

    TRICKS

    Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or “The Green Blob”: No stranger to tricks, the General Services Administration (GSA) and US Green Building Council have been in on one for quite some time and TPA has been there every step of the way to ask the tough questions and continue to expose the reality of the (LEED) certification system. TPA warned about the “new” LEED standards, known as LEED v.4 (click here to read previous blog posting).  LEED v.4 is now set for official use as it has been approved. TPA continues to argue that adopting LEED standards would be harmful for taxpayers and businesses.  GSA officials vanished like a ghost when TPA asked submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Click here to read more on TPA’s efforts to unmask LEED.

    To see the all of TPA's Tricks & Treats, click 'read more' below!

    » Read More
  • All Trick No Treat for Taxpayers: Congress Poised to Once Again Chooses Big Government Over Taxpayers

    Michi Iljazi on October 15, 2013

    us capitol

    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been keeping a close eye on the House, Senate, and White House as they have been going back and forth trying to resolve the current impasse that has kept the government closed (or at least slowed down many services) since the fiscal year began on October 1. Now, with the debt ceiling deadline less than 48 hours away and the threat of default a very real possibility, it appears that leadership on both sides of the aisle in Senate have reached a deal that would both extend the debt limit and keep the government open into early 2014. The crisis is by no means over, and it remains to be seen how this will play it out in the House, where many Republicans are wary to accept a clean Senate bill. The uncertainty is still very much a real factor in all of this, but one thing clear: this deal highlights another failure of elected officials to protect taxpayers, and instead is another sign that the era big government is still very much alive.  It is also a sign that Congress will continue to budget by crisis and not by common sense and fiscal responsibility.  It is almost fitting that this fiscal fiasco plays out in October, a month known for Halloween and scaring people. » Read More
  • Keep the Sequester, Get Rid of MEADS

    Michi Iljazi on September 12, 2013

    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been a stalwart proponent of much needed fiscal discipline when it comes to spending at the Department of Defense (DoD). And, in the aftermath of Budget Control Act of 2011 which resulted in sequestration and billions of dollars being cut from defense spending, TPA was pleased see hope that some sacred cow programs at DoD like the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS),  the Littoral Combat Ship, SM-3 Block II-B missile, the F-35 fighter, refurbishment of M-1 tanks, and the Virginia class submarine may finally be seeing the end of the road. One program in particular that TPA has been a vocal opponent of is MEADS, an international missile-to-missile intercept program with the U.S. as the lead country funding the program. MEADS, which started in 2005, is a program so wasteful and so bad, that even the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) prohibited the funding of the program in 2011, 2012, and in 2013. President Obama kept the program out of the Pentagon’s budget, but that didn’t stop Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel from spending $380 million in continuing resolution (CR) funds this year to continue funding design and development of the program. Sec. Hagel and the DoD may be the only ones proud to even admit it, when they announced in a letter sent to the German and Italian Defense ministers, that, “the U.S. would provide the money in 2013 for development of the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), a joint venture between the three countries.” Though the program was not budgeted for production back in 2011, it still continues to live on and cost taxpayers money.

    » Read More
  • Time for Action, Not More Talk

    David Williams on September 10, 2013

    pentagon

    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) applauds any attempt to identify wasteful government spending.  In fact, TPA’s sole existence is to highlight questionable and wasteful spending so that government can work more efficiently and taxpayers won’t have to be burdened with excessive government spending.  That is why when we read that Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Rep. Cheri Bustos, (D-Ill.) introduced the “Government Transformation Act” to get rid of wasteful spending TPA was intrigued and excited.  According to an op-ed by Rep. Bustos, “Every year, think tanks, auditors, investigators, and even Uncle Sam’s own Government Accountability Office crank out report after report concluding the same thing — too many federal government programs are inefficient, costly, ineffective or all of the above.  And yet, every year, these conclusions are largely ignored. As a consequence, the federal government unnecessarily wastes billions of dollars a year while many government programs continue to operate without concrete goals or standards for success.”  TPA agrees, but the problem isn’t identifying waste, it is the lack of congressional courage to actually pass legislation to cut spending in an intelligent manner.

    » Read More
  • Rep. McKeon Is Right (Kind of) on the Sequester

    Michael Ostrolenk on September 3, 2013

    (This piece first appeared on September 3, 2013 in The American Conservative.  The piece was written by Michael Ostrolenk, national security consultant.  While TPA does not take positions on military intervention/stratgey, we do take a strong position on military funding and budget cuts.) Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), who is Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), said recently on CNN, “We cannot keep asking the military to perform mission after mission with sequestration… hanging over their heads.”  He pointed out that Obama has surged troops in Afghanistan, flown missions over Libya, and changed strategy to focus on the Pacific all while cutting Pentagon spending. McKeon said, “Our military has had over a trillion dollars of cuts over the last couple of years and going forward.” Chairman McKeon makes some good points, but they mostly out of context. There have not been trillions of dollars in cuts to the Pentagon. He was not given all of the money he requested, but that’s not an actual cut.  The U.S. government is $17 trillion dollars in debt. He cannot wish the debt away so the U.S. military can buy all that his defense contractor friends want to sell Uncle Sam. There are fiscal realities that need to be addressed. Sequestration was a really poor way of doing so, but it was not Obama’s alone.  It was part of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), which was supported by both the House (run by Republicans) and Senate before being signed into law by President Obama.  And sequestration will not lead to trillions in cuts to the Pentagon budget. Parts of his statements have some truth, though. Yes, our military cannot operate as it has while we’re also reducing Pentagon spending. But we are not engaged in Iraq any longer, and we are winding down operations in Afghanistan. There is no need to spend the type of money we did while engaged in two wars. Also, it might prove prudent to start asking tough questions and not just throwing money and other resources at unquestioned assumptions about the threats the U.S faces in an ever-changing world.

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  • Defense Appropriations Bill Passes House (Updated Version of TPA's Amendment Guide)

    Michi Iljazi on July 25, 2013

    Pentagon

    Yesterday (July 24), the House of Representatives passed the 2014 Defense Appropriations Bill by a vote of 315-109 costing taxpayers nearly $600 billion. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) followed the process and watched very closely how the leadership would approach this legislation after going back on their word for an open-process of allowing for full amendment consideration on the recently passed Farm Bill. Advocates for a fair and full debate were granted a bigger victory in this case with a limited-rule that allowed for the consideration of 100 amendments. There were many amendments that TPA had expressed opposition to and many we urged member to support, including an amendment sponsored by Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), Jared Polis (D-Col.), and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) that “Ends authority for the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act” which received the most attention of any amendment. TPA was proud to be a part of numerous bi-partisan coalitions commenting on both the process and the content of the bill. On Tuesday July 23, TPA released a list of amendments that we supported and didn't support. Taxpayers had some victories and some defeats. The most troubling defeats were those amendments flagged by TPA as potential earmarks.

    Click "read more" below to see a list of those amendments and how they fared in voting

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  • TPA Details Taxpayer Friendly (and Unfriendly) List of Amendments to Defense Spending Bill

    David Williams on July 23, 2013

    Capitol

    As the House of Representatives continues debate on H.R. 2397, the 2014 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is providing members a detailed guide on specific amendments and how they affect taxpayers.  TPA takes a clear stand on these proposed amendments and explains how each of them could have positive or negative results for the country. It is time for Congress to take steps to ensure that the Department of Defense is given the necessary tools to defend the country and not use this legislation to waste valuable resources.  With 20 years of experience hunting and exposing earmarks, TPA President David Williams has flagged the below items with the label “Earmark Alert” as potential earmarks. TPA will continue to monitor these amendments as the spending bill makes its way through the House, Senate, and eventually conference committee.

    Click read more below for a list of the amendments and Taxpayers Protection Alliance stands

    » Read More
  • TPA Joins Coalition Urging Open Rule for Defense Spending Bill

    Michi Iljazi on July 16, 2013

    Logos

    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance has always advocated legislative transparency and we were outraged with the actions of the House last week regarding the closed-rule Farm Bill being able to proceed and eventually pass. Apparently, Congress may be at it again, but this time on defense spending as the House of Representatives moves to possibly consider H.R. 2397, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014. Last week, House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R, Texas) indicated that the Committee “may …consider a rule that may limit the amendment process” for the bill while at the same time conceding “this is not the traditional process for this bill.” Ridiculous contradictions aside, this is as disconcerting as it is unproductive. TPA, in an effort led by Taxpayers for Commonsense, signed onto a coalition letter with the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Americans for Tax Reform, Cost of Government Center, National Taxpayers Union, Less Government, R Street Institute, and Downsize DC to ensure an open-rule process on Defense appropriations as “taxpayers deserve a free and open debate on all the spending bills and large pieces of legislation.”  While it's critical for each appropriations bill to have as many amendments considered as possible, DoD is especially important considering the amount of earmarks that are funneled through.  In fact, in 2011, TPA found 89 earmarks worth $3 billion in the DoD appropriations bills (click here to read more).  This was after Congress agreed to an earmark moratorium.

    Click read more below to read the full letter

    » Read More
  • Déjà Vu All Over Again? Boeing Overcharging for Spare Parts Says Pentagon

    Michi Iljazi on June 25, 2013

    Pentagon

    In yet another stunning example of the kind of wasteful spending that just never seems to end in Washington, the Inspector General at the Pentagon stated that the Boeing Co. had overcharged the federal government to the tune of $13.7 million for nearly 1,500 orders of parts. The reason for this slight oversight: a failure to negotiate “fair and reasonable prices.” A summary was released a few weeks ago in which the IG discussed the findings to a certain extent and explained the process and reasoning behind it saying that, “The objective of the audit was to determine whether Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Aviation obtained best value and purchased sole-source spare parts at fair and reasonable prices from The Boeing Company (Boeing). We reviewed contract actions associated with SPM4A1-09-G-0004 and SPM400-02-D-9407 that were awarded to Boeing. Specifically, we reviewed costs for 60 spare parts on 2,659 delivery orders, valued at about $81.1 million, to determine if DLA Aviation received a fair and reasonable price."

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  • Joint Report on Pentagon Budget Aims to Benefit Taxpayers, While Preserving National Defense

    Michi Iljazi on June 10, 2013

    NTU/RSt Report

    T
    he goal of balancing fiscal responsibility with efficiency when it comes to Defense spending has always been an important issue. In fact, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance has done extensive work on this matter and it is always encouraging to see other free-market organizations join in the effort to identify smart ways where money can be saved in defense spending, without jeopardizing important programs essential to national security. Last week, a joint report put together by NTU and the R Street Institute was released entitled “Defending America, Defending Taxpayers: How Pentagon Spending Can Better Reflect Conservative Values” which focuses on the number of ways that the Pentagon’s massive budget can be cut, saving nearly $1.9 trillion dollars with 100 specific cuts to reflect smart defense policy, while at the same time being beneficial to taxpayers noting that the, “‘universe’ of programs and processes in need of reform at the Pentagon is more than large enough to allow for compliance with so-called sequestration while maintaining the strongest and most capable military the world has ever known.” There are many recommendations that the report’s authors, Pete Sepp and Andrew Moylan, indentify and though they are all achievable it is not likely we will be able to see them all implemented, but what is important is that the report gives specific ways that the Pentagon can become more efficient, without deviating from their role as an agency vested with providing national security. Savings in the report include: $878.5 billion through 30 recommendations by overhauling deficient processes and management structures, including a reduction in DoD printing costs, consolidation of foreign language contracts, combining support services at joint bases, and a full audit of Pentagon finances; $618.6 billion through 20 recommendations with personnel, compensation, and benefit reforms ranging from less spending on military bands to capping the troop presence in Europe; from health care benefit restructuring to adjusting the "high-three" retirement formula; and $385.8 billion through 50 recommendations by eliminating wasteful, unnecessary, or low-priority weapons systems, such as the SM-3 Block II-B missile (eliminated in favor of less expensive options), the F-35 fighter (replaced with other jets), refurbishment of M-1 tanks (delayed), and the Virginia class submarine (reduced in procurement).

    » Read More
  • Germans Say "NEIN!" To Missile System

    David Williams on June 5, 2013

    The Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) has had a rocky road over the last two years and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance has chronicled most of that (read previous postings here and here).  MEADS has rightly earned the moniker the "Missile to Nowhere." And, according to a December 4, 2012 Politico article, “Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin said today he feels strongly that the Medium Extended Air Defense System is a ‘waste of money,...’”  Because of the prohibitive cost ($2 billion over budget), schedule delays (10 years behind schedule) and the system's poor performance, the U.S. Army has said it doesn't want MEADS and that it would never use the missiles.  Now a German publication (click here to read the article in German) has dealt MEADS another blow.  According to the June 4 article, “Despite the beautiful promotional images, the Ministry of Defense currently does not know whether the system can ever hit missiles from the sky. In fact, the Ministry does not know what the development will be as designed. In his last report to the Defence Committee he says: "The original development agreement ... contained ...no requirement for a fully comprehensive documentation and archiving of development results "  OUCH!  This latest German criticism comes at a time when Congress is debating another Defense authorization bill.  In the interest of taxpayers and national security MEADS must be terminated immediately and given DAS BOOT (the shoe not the ship)!

    » Read More
  • The Little Ship That Couldn't... "Inadequate" Littoral Combat Ship Could Cost Taxpayers Hundreds of Billions of Dollars

    Michi Iljazi on May 29, 2013

    LCS 2
    The USS Independence, LCS 2 (Robert A. Wood Sr., U.S. Navy)

    There are billons in taxpayer dollars wasted by the Department of Defense and one glaring example is the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship.  This ship may cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars and may ultimately  lack the necessary firepower in order to be a part of the fleet.  A March 28, 2013 Bloomberg article discussed a report about the Littoral Combat Ship and it’s less than adequate capabilities:“Vice Admiral Tom Copeman, the commander of naval surface forces, called on the Navy to consider a ship with more offensive capability after the first 24 vessels are built, according to a Navy official who asked not to be identified discussing the confidential document. Copeman’s memo, prepared late last year at the request of Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations, indicates the Navy may be starting to re-examine the $37 billion program. The ship has been beset by troubles, including cracks and corrosion, its price has doubled since 2005 to $440 million per vessel and a decision to build two versions will add to longterm operating costs.” There is the possibility that a review could take place and a redesign of the ship or the development of an entirely new vessel could be the result of such a review. That being said, the story becomes more unbelievable considering that there are actually two versions of the “inadequate” ship being built at the same time, one in Wisconsin and one in Alabama. While the goal behind the LCS was to replace outdated frigates and various other ships, the report clearly calls into the question the wisdom of taxpayers spending nearly $40 billion dollars to build the LCS. The duo has earned the non-ceremonial nickname of “Little Crappy Ship” from those in the Navy, and that just adds fuel to the substantive criticism of the wastefulness of this endeavor.

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  • Missile To Nowhere Needs To Be Grounded

    David Williams on April 23, 2013

    Taxpayers may be startled to learn that even though there are automatic spending cuts (sequestration) this year, some of the most wasteful and inefficient programs still get funded. One of the most wasteful and expensive is the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) program.  Despite The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) prohibiting the funding of the program , DoD will be spending $380 million in continuing resolution (CR) funds to continue funding design and development of the program.  Additionally, President Obama left the program out of his budget, but still Defense Secretary Hagel announced in a letter sent this past Monday to the German and Italian Defense ministers, that, “the U.S. would provide the money in 2013 for development of the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), a joint venture between the three countries.”  During a time when the country is experiencing fiscal difficulties and has a limited amount of resources even for defense spending, policy makers should be looking for ways to get the most bang for their buck and MEADS is not it. MEADs, which cost nearly $3 billion so far, has been plagued by consistent scheduling delays, cost overruns, and an overall failure to meet performance requirements.  The Taxpayers Protection Alliance has written numerous blogs on this issue (click here and here).

    » Read More
  • It's Tax Day. Do You Know Where Your Tax Dollars Are?

    David Williams on April 15, 2013

    Tax form
    The answer to that question may not be what you want to hear.  There was $95 billion in waste and duplication.  Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) released two reports, Department of Everything, which highlights waste at the Pentagon, and the Wastebook 2012, which highlights waste throughout the federal government.  In conjunction with Our Generation (OG), the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a video showing Washington, D.C., tourists giving their thoughts on wasteful government spending.  As examples of wasteful spending, TPA and OG highlighted the $1.5 million for Pentagon beef jerky and the $325,000 the National Science Foundation (NSF) spent on a RoboSquirrels program.  Both of these projects were highlighted in reports by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).  According to Sen. Coburn’s report, Department of Everything, “Beef jerky so good it will shock and awe your taste buds. That is the goal of an ongoing Pentagon project, which is attempting to develop its own brand of jerky treats that are the bomb! Only, the money is coming from a program specially created to equip soldiers with the weapons they need.”  Sen. Coburn highlighted the $325,000 for the NSF RoboSquirrels in his Wastebook 2012.  TPA and OG spoke to visitors from California to Ohio to Texas to New Jersey and the frustration was always the same.  When they were asked for thoughts on members of Congress making $174,000 per year ($285,000 with benefits), people were dumbfounded.  They wondered why our elected officials made so much and received so much time off for vacation when American families across the nation—their constituents—are struggling financially.


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  • TPA's Analysis Of The President's Budget

    David Williams on April 10, 2013

    President Obama released his long awaited budget today (access all budget documents here).  Two months overdue and dead on arrival to a dysfunctional and divided Congress, the fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget is nothing more than a wish list of things that will never happen.  It is important to look through the budget and see where the President’s priorities are.  The budget proposes to spend $3.78 trillion in FY 2014.  That is $10.3 billion per day, $431 million per hour and $7.2 million per minute.  There are two fundamental problems with the budget, there is too much revenue asked for and not enough spending cuts.  Even though the budget calls for $24 billion in specific spending cuts, Defense spending alone will be $52 billion above the budget cap for next year saving some programs that should be eliminated such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.  The President’s budget also wants to raise more revenue via tax increases on the wealthy and a new program to offer preschool to all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families through higher tobacco taxes.

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  • Pentagon Spends $1.6 Billion In A Single Day

    David Williams on April 3, 2013

    The vast majority of Americans will never spend $1.6 billion in their entire lifetime nor will most people ever see that figure in a bank account, much less spend the amount in a single day’s time.  But before you say it’s impossible to do, take a look at how the Pentagon managed to spend $1.6 billion in just a single day’s work.  Fortunately, The Fiscal Times did the number crunching for us and offered just exactly how such vast expenditures occur.  The article rightly notes that most of the attention goes to the big-ticket expenditures, including many examples, like the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) that the Taxpayers Protection Alliance has written on extensively.  So what’s particularly valuable and unique about the Times’ article is that it zeros in on some of the smaller projects.  The article notes, “But smaller projects often escape scrutiny, despite costing the Pentagon hundreds of millions of dollars. To illustrate just how the Pentagon spends money each day, The Fiscal Times picked a random day – March 4, 2013 – and reviewed what contracts the Pentagon awarded on that day. From weapons systems to prescription drugs, the daily cost of running the Pentagon added up quickly: 10 days ago, the Pentagon spent $1,614,108,656.”

    » Read More
  • EARMARK ALERT: Sens. McCain and Coburn Uncover $500 Million In Earmarks In Continuing Resolution

    David Williams on March 13, 2013

    It seems as though the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) today released a list of earmarks worth more than $500 million added to the FY 2013 Continuing Resolution that is slated to fund the government for the rest of the year.  With a $16.7 trillion debt and a deficit eclipsing the $800 billion mark, the Senate should be ashamed for adding more these earmarks to the FY 2013 Continuing Resolution.  Earmarks have been the bribery currency of Congress for many years, as both parties used them to buy votes, bring federal dollars to their district and ultimately get re-elected. Former members of Congress including Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.) were sent to jail for accepting bribes to secure earmarks. Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff also spent time in jail in connection with earmarks promised to clients.Earmarks circumvent established budgetary processes and procedures and further exacerbate taxpayers’ cynicism of Washington, D.C. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has called earmarks “the gateway drug to spending addiction in Washington.”  In 2010, the House and Senate agreed to a two year moratorium on earmarks, yet there were reports of Congress backsliding on this promise - with earmarks being found in the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bills.  It is time for Congress to be serious about eliminating earmarks for good by passing legislation like S. 1930, the Earmark Elimination Act, which was proposed in 2012 by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).  S. 1930 would have permanently killed earmarks and given life to fiscal responsibility. » Read More
  • Sequestration To Affect Already Closed National Drug Intelligence Center

    David Williams on February 28, 2013

    At midnight tonight (March 1), the sequestration ($85 billion in automatic spending cuts) officially kicks in.  The amount of misinformation surrounding President Obama’s the sky-is-falling rhetoric when describing the sequester’s spending cuts is getting out of hand.  In fact, it’s now so far removed from reality that the administration has started lamenting supposed cuts to a government agency that no longer exists.  Back in September 2012, Congress requested that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) send a detailed report detailing all of the government programs and agencies that would be affected if the sequestration cuts were to occur.  Just this week, Reason announced it had discovered a problem with the report.  Specifically, “One of the cuts it warns against would affect an agency that no longer exists--and didn't exist when the OMB sent its report to congress.”  Oops!  The Reason post goes on to detail the government’s significant error: “The first line item on page 121…says that under sequestration the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) would lose $2 million of its $20 million budget. While that’s slightly more than 8.2 percent (rounding error or scare tactic?), the bigger problem is that the NDIC shuttered its doors on June 15, 2012--three months before the OMB issued its report to Congress.” If you need more proof, Reason’s site even includes a screenshot of the government’s page.

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