HOUSE APPROVES AMENDMENT TO MILITARY SPENDING BILL PREVENTING FUNDS FROM GOING TO BRAC UNTIL SECRETARY OF DEFENSE RELEASES ITS DATA
Holt & Pallone Express Concern That Necessary Data Is Not Yet Available
The U.S. House of Representatives today approved by voice vote an amendment to a military spending bill that ensures no funds in the bill can be used to close or realign a military installation included on the Defense Department's Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list until the Secretary of Defense makes all the information available on which its recommendations were based.
U.S. Reps. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) both spoke out in support of the amendment, which was offered by U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 Military Quality of Life-Veterans' Affairs Appropriations bill. The spending bill now goes to the U.S. Senate for its approval.
"We're looking not so much for the data on what is the implication of base closing and realignment on local economies," said Holt. "We're looking for the data on how the Pentagon intends to provide for the needs of the men and women in the field today and tomorrow and next year, and how they will make up for any loss of capability that results from realignment and transfer of personnel. In order to have a conscientious evaluation of what is being proposed here, we need the data. It's as simple as that."
"In the last BRAC round in 1995, we had all the information to back up the Pentagon's recommendations within a few days," Pallone said. "It's almost been two weeks since the base closure list came out and we're still lacking most of the background information for these recommendations.
"In the case of Fort Monmouth, the recommendation says to close and move the base would cost $822 million and that, over the next six years, there would be an annual savings of about $143 million," Pallone continued. "The problem is the Pentagon number crunchers haven't given us the background data as to how they reached these conclusions, making it more difficult for us to refute their claims. That is why passage of the Tubbs Amendment today is so important."