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Public Statements

Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. POMPEO. Mr. Chairman, I rise to strike the Rapid Innovation Fund and save the taxpayers over $250 million. As a veteran, I know how important it is that we use every single dollar that goes to our Department of Defense in an intelligent way.

This fund, this Rapid Innovation Fund, has never been requested by the Pentagon. This is money that the Pentagon doesn't say that it wants. It was created in the FY 2011 Defense bill in response, frankly, to the loss of earmarks here in the House of Representatives. So far the Appropriations Committee has put over $700 million in 2 years into this fund, and yet to date the Department of Defense has spent only $32.5 million of the $700 million already appropriate and provided.

But instead of waiting to see if the fund is working and if it could be successful and of any value to the warfighter, this year the committee is pushing for another $250 million of taxpayer money to go into the so-called Rapid Innovation Fund.

I urge my colleagues to reject this effort. First of all, the Pentagon, as I said, never asked for this money. Four DOD agencies declined an invitation to even participate in the fund. There is clearly no one in the military clamoring for what is essentially a slush fund. With sequestration looming, now is the time to make tough choices, not to add $250 million of wasteful spending. We must focus our very scarce resources on validated military requirements.

Second, this Rapid Innovation Fund is neither rapid, nor innovative. The fund allows the Department of Federal Acquisition Regulations Procedures to move forward--just as they do for any other procurement process. The first contracts took over a year to be signed. I don't find anything rapid about that. In addition, this fund simply doles out money to projects that are similar to those previously supported by the now-discredited earmark system. There's nothing innovative about that either.

Let me be clear: this fund was created by Congress because Congress ended earmarks, and some have wanted a way to have earmark-type projects continue to receive government money.

This fund is, third, wasteful and unnecessary. The DOD base budget is well over $500 billion--built through a time-honored and trusted process to ensure the needs of our warfighters. This fund, however, is completely outside of this process and therefore advances projects that have not been validated and are not proven in this same manner.

Finally, the fund itself is unproven. Only $30 million and change has been spent on this fund and there is no data demonstrating that this fund holds any value to our military or to our taxpayers. But even if it does, there's still $670 million sitting in the fund today. Why not just wait? At the current spending rate, there's over 10 years' worth of funds still available. Why put $250 million more of taxpayer money at risk?

As a Congress, we have to be willing to make tough choices--certainly in our DOD budget. But this one isn't even tough. We can't just throw good money in the hole and hope it helps our Nation's defense.

I urge my colleagues to support this amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. POMPEO. I just say to the chairman, I'm not urging anyone to rush out and spend this money. I'm urging this money to stay in the pockets of the taxpayers because the Department of Defense has not asked for it. All of the things that have been spoken to, these good ideas, I was a small business owner. I made airplane parts for 10 years. I don't want anybody to rush out and spend the money. I want to leave it in the taxpayers' pockets, where the Department of Defense believes it should be.

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