U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) offered an amendment today to a bill to fund the government after March 27th that would increase Defense Department operations and maintenance funding by redirecting monies from the Pentagon biofuels program.
After learning that Tobyhanna Army Depot plans to lay off 418 civilian contract employees in the coming weeks, Senator Toomey authored an amendment to provide a modest increase to the Defense Department's account which helps pay for the salaries of these and other Army civilian contract employees involved in operations and maintenance. To ensure that his proposal is deficit-neutral, the Toomey amendment would offset this funding increase by diverting monies from the Pentagon biofuels programs.
"We can and should ensure our national security even at a time that we are reducing our defense spending," said Sen. Toomey. "I was very disturbed to learn about the planned layoff of hundreds of highly skilled civilian employees at Tobyhanna Army Depot. These workers perform vital maintenance on military equipment and play a significant role in our national security efforts.
"In light of all of the waste, duplication, and lower priority spending in the federal government, I am confident that we can make more sensible cuts in spending than severely reducing the Army's operations and maintenance work. One area for savings is the Defense Department biofuels program, which requires the taxpayer to grossly overpay for fuel. Given tightening budgets, it makes little sense to waste money on inefficient, overpriced energy sources when we could use those same funds to help support critical maintenance services for the warfighter. I look forward to the Senate voting on my amendment and, hopefully, supporting our military's operations and maintenance efforts across the country."