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Category: Defense



  • SOTU 2015: What Taxpayers Should Be Listening for from President Obama

    David Williams on January 19, 2015

    sotu

    On Tuesday night, the President will be giving his sixth State of the Union address to Congress and the country. After you get past all the pomp and circumstance of his arrival on Capitol Hill and shaking the hands of members of Congress, President Obama will launch into his policy agenda for the next year.  The speech will not only be a preview for next year, but also be a peek into what his priorities will be and how he intends to deal with the new Republican majority in the Senate and increased Republican majority in the House. There will be opportunities for the President to reach out to the Congress to pass much-needed reform, but there will also be differences. Besides listening for buzzwords like “investment” which really means more spending, TPA will be listening very intently to the whole speech, but there will be a few issues that taxpayers should especially be listening for when President Obama speaks to the nation tomorrow night.

    » Read More
  • TPA's New Year's Resolutions for 2015!

    David Williams and Michi Iljazi on December 31, 2014

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    The New Year is upon us and it’s time for millions of Americans to make their resolutions for the New Year.  Many folks vow to lose weight by eating a healthier diet and going to the gym.  In a twist on that time-honored tradition, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is urging Congress to get it’s fiscal health back in shape.  We put together a list of our own resolutions for Washington and those politicians who will soon be returning for a new Congressional session.

    Click 'read more' below to see the full list of 2015 New Years resolutions!

    » Read More
  • BREAKING: TPA Slams Congress for The CRomnibus That Could Steal Christmas (and Billions of Tax Dollars)

    Michi Iljazi on December 10, 2014

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    ALEXANDRIA, VA – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) excoriated Congress for offering a $1.1 trillion CRomnibus spending bill for the fiscal year (2015) that contains billions of dollars worth of earmarks. On Tuesday December 9, 2014, Congress released a 1,600-page spending bill crafted by House and Senate appropriators.  Dubbed the “CRomnibus” because it combines a Continuing Resolution (CR), which funds government agencies in the absence of individual spending bills, and an Omnibus spending bill, which contains the individual spending bills, the legislation closes the chapter on one of the most unproductive sessions of Congress of all time.   The legislation contains full funding for 11 of the 12 appropriations, with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) only receiving enough funds to operate into early 2015.  There’s not much to praise when looking at both the substance of the bill and the manner in which it was delivered. Taxpayers will once again be left on the hook for spending that includes programs that are neither needed nor wanted. Further, the CRomnibus reminded taxpayers that earmarks are not dead.  Defense appropriations contain 293 earmarks worth more than $13 billion,(click here for a full list), including four additional F-35 aircrafts (which have been plagued with problems) and $120 million for the Abrams tank that the Pentagon doesn’t want.

    Click 'read more' to see the full statement from TPA

    » Read More
  • NDAA Brings Together Criticism from All Sides of the Ideological Spectrum

    Michi Iljazi on December 9, 2014

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    Last week the House passed the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act by a vote of 300-119 with bipartisan support.  The compromise bill is headed to the Senate today where it is likely to pass and then will be signed by President Obama. Recently, several groups from across the political spectrum weighed in on the legislation.  What is clear is that many folks are disappointed with the Bill.  Here are some of the statements on the NDAA from several individuals representing groups across the ideological divide.

    Click 'read more' below to see the statements on the National Defense Authorization Act » Read More
  • Taxpayers Are Hoping They Don't Get Thrown Under the Omnibus

    Michi Iljazi on November 25, 2014

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    With the Congress in a short Lame Duck recess (slated to return next week) and the government running out of funding on December 11th, it is nearing the point where there will be some type of legislation needed to keep the government open for the remainder of the year and into 2015. The real question right now is what type of stopgap funding measure will there be from Congress to make sure the government remains open for business after the latest Continuing Resolution (passed in September) expires. Will it be another CR? Or will there be a massive omnibus spending bill headed to the President’s desk? If it is the latter, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) will be concerned and taxpayers should be too with the possibility of earmarks being inserted into the bill. Though earmarks were banned, lawmakers have found a way around the process and they continue to be a problem. Right now the tide appears to be with the Omnibus, and there are reports out that show there’s not even interest in a short-term Continuing Resolution. John T. Bennett of Defense News said this much last week in an article Thursday.

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  • TPA Joins Coalition Urging Reform on LRSAM Program

    Michi Iljazi on November 21, 2014

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    The Lame Duck Congress is headed home for Thanksgiving, but when they return there will still be work that must get done. Besides the fact that the government will run out of funding on December 11, there is also the expiring (again) moratorium on Internet Access Taxes and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 (NDAA). On that note, it is important that Congress take a close look at what programs will be getting taxpayer funding and making sure that wasteful and unnecessary spending be eliminated. One program is to keep an eye on is the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), which the President is seeking 202.9 million for to continue development. TPA has written before (read here) why this program shouldn’t be getting taxpayer money at all, and last week this organization joined a coalition letter sent by National Taxpayers Union and signed by 60 Plus Association, Americans for Tax Reform, Campaign for Liberty, Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Coalition to Reduce Spending, and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste urging a reduction of spending on LRASM. While there are many programs that waste money, when an NDAA is passed it would be a win for taxpayers should LRASM’s funding be reduced.

    To read the full letter, click 'read more' below » Read More
  • A Return of Earmarks? Not So Fast

    David Williams on November 17, 2014

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    This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller on November 14, 2014

    For many years, earmarks were business as usual in Washington, D.C. That changed in 2006 when Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives partly due to their excessive spending on earmarks. Responding to that voter pressure, Congress instituted transparency rules for earmarks starting in 2008 and then in 2010, the House and Senate agreed to a two-year moratorium. The moratorium was extended and most earmarks disappeared, except for the defense spending bill. In fact, TPA uncovered 186 earmarks worth $7 billion (click here to see the full list) in the Defense Appropriations Bill that was part of H.R. 3547, the 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act, aka the Omnibus appropriations bill. One member of Congress tried to unsuccessfully bring back earmarks. A post from Redstate.com on November 14 noted that Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) tried to introduce an amendment to House rules that “would allow an exception to the earmarks ban for ‘State, locality (including county and city governments), or a public utility or other public entity.’”

    » Read More
  • Billions Wasted in Taxpayer Money as US Army Intel Program Fails to Deliver

    Michi Iljazi on November 4, 2014

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    The broken record of waste in Washington seems to keep playing on repeat mode.  And, for taxpayers, it is something that they are unfortunately growing accustomed to. The Pentagon is where a large part of this problem resides, and just last week yet another program that amounted to nothing more than a waste of taxpayer money was revealed with the problems with the Army’s Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS), an intelligence program specifically designed by former service members of the Army. Ken Dilanian of the Associated Press reported last week on DCGS and the results have been anything but desirable. Though there is nothing illegal about what it is happening with the DCGS, the criticism regarding how failure is being perpetuated is something that should resonate for taxpayers. When billions of dollars are poured into a program being designed by those who are experts there is a sense that the correct track is being followed.  But, when the program fails to deliver both on cost and results and the same people seem to profit, there’s something wrong with that equation.

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  • TPA Presents The 2014 Taxpayer Tricks and Treats!

    David Williams and Michi Iljazi on October 30, 2014

    halloween

    Today is Halloween and as everyone is getting ready for costumes and candy and parties, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is busy fighting all the scary things government has in store for taxpayers! With that in mind TPA is releasing the annual Taxpayer Trick or Treat list! There’s plenty to be afraid of for the taxpayer, but the biggest trick played on taxpayers is the $17 trillion debt that is approaching $18 trillion faster than a Vampire hiding from the sun!

    TRICKS

    Earmarks or “The Walking Dead”

    Responding to voter outrage, Congress instituted transparency rules for earmarks beginning in 2008 .  In 2010, the House and Senate agreed to a two-year moratorium on earmarks. The moratorium was extended but unfortunately the ‘spirit’ of earmarks has lived on. This year TPA uncovered massive amounts of earmarked funding in Omnibus (read here) and both House & Senate appropriations bills (read here). With more than $20 billion documented from those three alone, taxpayers should be frightened at the prospect of how legislators are getting around the earmark ban and keeping these money eating Zombies alive. Now some members of Congress like Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) want to bring them back permanently.  Click here to read more about TPA’s work on earmarks.

    For more of TPA's 2014 Tricks and Treats, click 'read more' below!

    » Read More
  • TPA Presents The 2014 Taxpayer Tricks and Treats!

    David Williams and Michi Iljazi on October 27, 2014

    halloween

    Halloween is this week and as everyone is getting ready for costumes and candy and parties, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is busy fighting all the scary things government has in store for taxpayers! With that in mind TPA is releasing the annual Taxpayer Trick or Treat list! There’s plenty to be afraid of for the taxpayer, but the biggest trick played on taxpayers is the $17 trillion debt that is approaching $18 trillion faster than a Vampire hiding from the sun!

    TRICKS

    Earmarks or “The Walking Dead”

    Responding to voter outrage, Congress instituted transparency rules for earmarks beginning in 2008 .  In 2010, the House and Senate agreed to a two-year moratorium on earmarks. The moratorium was extended but unfortunately the ‘spirit’ of earmarks has lived on. This year TPA uncovered massive amounts of earmarked funding in Omnibus (read here) and both House & Senate appropriations bills (read here). With more than $20 billion documented from those three alone, taxpayers should be frightened at the prospect of how legislators are getting around the earmark ban and keeping these money eating Zombies alive. Now some members of Congress like Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) want to bring them back permanently.  Click here to read more about TPA’s work on earmarks.

    For more of TPA's 2014 Tricks and Treats, click 'read more' below!

    » Read More
  • Taxpayer Money Flying Away As DOD Sells $500 Million Planes for Almost Nothing

    Michi Iljazi on October 23, 2014

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    The Department of Defense has long been seen as one of the primary areas where reform is needed when it comes to how taxpayer money is spent. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has highlighted not only the wasteful spending practices that exist in the Pentagon, but there is also the fact that transparency and accountability at the agency is lacking and has been for quite some time. Unfortunately, another example of waste and mismanagement has been uncovered showing once again that taxpayers aren’t being best served by DOD. Andrea Shalal of Reuters reported in early October on a fleet of planes for Afghanistan, which came courtesy of American taxpayers, is being sold for scrap.

     

    » Read More
  • Congress Shouldn't Use New International Threats to Avoid Cutting Wasteful Spending

    Michi Iljazi on September 10, 2014

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    There is no doubt that there must be a priority to make sure that our nation is protected and our interests at home and abroad are secured, but that’s not an excuse to continue wasteful and unnecessary Defense spending.  One member of Congress, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), believes that sequestration, the automatic cuts Congress and the President agreed to in the Budget Control Act of 2011, may have to be halted due to new potential threats to America. » Read More
  • SUMMER READING: DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION

    Michi Iljazi on September 5, 2014

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    Congress is set to return to Washington D.C. this coming Monday after a month-long recess and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been giving members some tips on what they need to work on when they come back with our Summer Reading series. Today, the final part of the series focuses on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which has yet to make its way completely through both chambers of Congress. In May the House passed the NDAA by a large bipartisan majority vote of 325-98, but the Senate (in familiar fashion) failed to move on their version leaving the Department of Defense (DoD) in limbo regarding how much and what they’ll be able to spend for fiscal year (FY) 2015. The most important thing for taxpayers to know about the NDAA is that there is a major difference in terms of how each chamber has proceeded when moving the legislation through from debate to passage. In the House, the process is open (at a limited level) to allow for a large number of amendments to be offered and ultimately voted on before final passage. TPA was very active during the House debate over the NDAA, releasing a detailed analysis of amendments offered and classifying them as ones that should or should not be included in the final bill.  There were victories and losses for taxpayers and advocates of reduced bureaucracy and spending at DoD, but the House ultimately allowed for such victories to be possible, which in and of itself was a win.

    » Read More
  • DOD Auditor: Billions in Taxpayer Money Spent in Afghanistan Wasted

    Michi Iljazi on August 6, 2014

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    The public has been assured that when it comes to US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan that the “wars are winding down.” Unfortunately it seems that not only is that not the case, there also appears to be a real problem regarding the way in which  taxpayer money is being spent. The latest example comes out of Afghanistan (America’s longest war) as the findings from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) released a report about how much taxpayer money has been wasted rebuilding that country. According to John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, "Too often we've pushed taxpayer money out the door without considering if the Afghans need it and can sustain it."

    » Read More
  • Rooftop Solar Companies Cash In on Government Handouts

    David Williams on August 4, 2014

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    This article originally appeared on Townhall.com on July 24, 2014

    You can’t help but hand it to them – rooftop solar companies have quite cleverly found their way onto the government’s gravy train. For years Washington has subsidized rooftop solar installations for customersin the form of the Solar Investment Tax Credit, which allows homeowners who install rooftop solar panels to receive a tax credit of up to 30 percent of the cost. The subsidy has been one of the many ongoing ways in which the feds insert themselves into the energy marketplace. And while it has hampered efforts to achieve real energy independence in the U.S., and has therefore caused real harm to our economy, it nevertheless has met a legitimate need for homeowners desperate for some relief from high energy costs. But rooftop solar companies – most of which, like SolarCity, Corp., are political connected and favored – have created a scheme to claim the tax credit for themselves. These companies discovered that if they lease the rooftop solar systems to homeowners, the companies themselves can claim the federal tax credit as well as all state and local incentives.

    » Read More
  • BREAKING NEWS: Watchdog Group Uncovers Billions in Earmarks in both the House and Senate Defense Appropriations Bills (UPDATED)

    David Williams and Michi Iljazi on July 31, 2014

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    BREAKING NEWS: Watchdog Group Uncovers Billions in Earmarks in both the House and Senate Defense Appropriations Bills

    ALEXANDRIA, VA – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) uncovered hundreds of earmarks in both the House and Senate versions of the 2015 Defense Appropriations bill. In the House (click here), there were 137 earmarks worth $8,176,255,000. In the Senate (click here), there were 190 earmarks worth $11,718,149,000. All of the earmarks listed were spending items not requested by the Pentagon.  This is yet another disappointing example of Washington politicians spending taxpayer money in circumvention of established budgetary procedures. The waste could be seen in such familiar programs like $224,000,000 added by the House for the F-35; $120 million added by both the House and he Senate for the Abrams Tank; and $80 million for the Littoral Combat Ship. For a list of the earmarks that appeared in both chambers, click here!

    Click 'read more' below to see the full list of earmarks

    » Read More
  • Any Supplemental Spending Should be Paid for With Spending Cuts

    Michi Iljazi on July 10, 2014

    potus

    Winston Churchill said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”  That saying is as relevant to Washington today as it was during Churchill’s time. Back in 2009, with the country still in turmoil from the financial crisis, then White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel echoed the notion that when the country is in crisis politicians should use that crisis to do things they may not normally be able to do. This type of cynical and opportunistic approach to politics is probably just one of the many reasons why so many people have so little faith in our political institutions. The problems on the border are shaping up to be another opportunity for the President and Congress to turn a humanitarian crisis on the border into a fiscal crisis. President Obama submitted a $3.7 billion supplemental spending bill for measures that would (according to the Administration) constitute an aggressive approach to this problem. The White House released a statement calling on Congress to approve the spending with the President saying, "I urge the Congress to act expeditiously in considering this important request."

    » Read More
  • LRASM v Tomahawk: Defense Appropriators Spending More for Less

    Michi Iljazi on June 27, 2014

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    U.S. Navy Tactical Tomahawk launch (courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

    The Pentagon is a classic example of a federal agency that spends money on unnecessary programs. Congress is an integral part of the problem as they appropriate money for programs that are duplicative and unnecessary. This problem was highlighted when the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) exposed that the Omnibus spending bill which was passed earlier this year was filled with more than $7 billion in unrequested earmarks. The debate over earmarks isn’t the only problem that taxpayers must continue to fight, there is also the question of efficiency and how best to spend money when it is actually necessary. Though TPA focuses a great deal on the wasteful spending on projects and programs that are not needed, there is a need to focus on how to make sure that spending is done responsibility when dealing with competing technologies and programs that aim to achieve the same outcomes or serve similar purposes and interests. The F-35 is a glaring example of the Pentagon spending money on a weapons system that is unneeded and overly expensive. Besides the much-publicized problems with the F-35, two weapons systems that put a spotlight on this problem are the Tomahawk Missile program and the Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) program.

    » Read More
  • TPA Joins Bipartisan Coalition Supporting Defense Appropriations Amendments

    Michi Iljazi on June 19, 2014

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    Right now in Washington, D.C. there is a great deal of activity in Congress as members rush towards the July 4th holiday break. The last few weeks we've seen a several appropriations bills make their way through committees and onto the House and Senate floors funding Transportation, Education, Housing, Energy, and Defense. Today, as Congress continues work on H.R. 4870, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2015 it is important to know that there are a great deal of attempts made by representatives on both sides of the poltiical aisle to use these spending bills as a vehicle to save money for taxpayers. As much waste and unncesary spending as we see during the rush to get appropriations bills through both chambers, there are also examples of smart and reasonable amendments that will cut spending and provide taxpayers with a rare win. Today, in a letter sent to the House by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), TPA joined with Antiwar.com, Coalition to Reduce Spending, Council for a Livable World, DownsizeDC.org, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Just Foreign Policy, National Priorities Project, National Taxpayers Union, Peace Action, Peace Action West, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), Taxpayers for Common Sense, United for Peace and Justice, U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW), Win Without War, and Women’s Action for New Directions to support several taxpayer-friendly amendments that have been put forth in the debate of the 2015 defense spending bill. TPA is hopeful that more amendments saving taxpayer dollars will be put forth as the appropriations process continues in the coming weeks.


    Click 'read more' below to see the full letter

    » Read More
  • (UPDATED) TPA Releases Analysis of Amendments to National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

    David Williams and Michi Iljazi on May 22, 2014

    Yesterday, Taxpayers Protection Alliance put out a list of amendments that were being considered for H.R. 4435, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015. TPA provided members of Congress and all Americans with a guide on specific amendments and how members of Congress should vote. Just now, the House concluded their business regarding these offered amendments and will move forward with passage likely of the NDAA sometime this afternoon. Now that amendments have been debated and selected, TPA wanted to update readers on where there were victories for taxpayers, and where there were defeats. The debate on the NDAA will shift to the Senate and TPA will watch to see what the bill will look like after they complete their process, although unfortunately in that chamber of Congress, there is a lack of transparency in how they proceed on the NDAA, as TPA has noted recently. Regardless, it is time for Congress to take steps to ensure that the Department of Defense (DoD) is given the necessary tools to defend the nation while not using this legislation as yet another way to waste taxpayer dollars.

    Click 'read more' below to see the updated list! » Read More
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