Continuing his record of cutting wasteful federal spending, Congressman Jared Polis offered an amendment to a defense bill that would save more than $1 billion of taxpayer money by reducing U.S. troop levels in Europe. The House today adopted the amendment Polis offered with Congressman Mike Coffman (R-CO) to the National Defense Authorization Act, which annually sets Pentagon budget priorities, by a vote of 226-196.
"Americans don't want to keep paying to defend Europe from a threat that no longer exists," said Polis. "Americans want to eliminate wasteful spending across the board, which is why I am scrubbing each and every bill to help reduce the deficit. If a program isn't working, isn't necessary, or just doesn't make sense, we should take the budget axe to it."
This is Polis' fourth attempt to save taxpayer money by reducing U.S. troop levels in Europe, a proposal that has garnered greater support over time. Polis also offered a version of the proposal last year to H.R. 1, the Republican Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution, which failed by a vote of 74-351. He also offered a similar amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which failed by a vote of 96-323, and to last year's annual defense spending bill, which failed by a vote of 113-307.
This year, Polis partnered with Congressman Coffman on a bipartisan troop reduction amendment much like his previous proposals in the hope of garnering additional Republican support. The amendment would recall the four Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) permanently stationed in Europe. Multiple reports and studies have proven that removing troops from Europe will provide significant taxpayer savings. One Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report found that removing most of the forces stationed just in Germany would save $1 billion annually. The Polis amendment should produce even higher savings for taxpayers.
Yesterday, another Polis amendment aimed to save $403 million by reducing funding for an unsuccessful missile defense program. That amendment failed by a vote of 162-254. Polis' missile defense amendment would have cut spending on the ground-based midcourse defense (GMD) system by $403 million, as recommended by the Government Accountability Office. House Republicans chose to increase funding for the program above the military's request despite multiple program failures. Since 1997, the system has failed more than half of its tests, missing its target nine times in 17 chances.