The House of Representatives today passed H.R. 2397, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act by a vote of 315-109.
Included in the legislation was an amendment offered by Representative Lee Terry (R-NE) that reduces the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund from $7.7 billion to $5.1 billion while transferring $1 billion to the DOD's Operations and Maintenance Defense-wide Account which funds several thousand civilian salaries.
"We have heard time and time again of U.S. taxpayer dollars that are being wasted in Afghanistan," said Rep. Terry. "My amendment is a common-sense approach that saves taxpayer dollars while giving DOD the resources to offset civilian furloughs."
The underlying legislation provides $512.5 billion in wartime funding for the Pentagon that funds our men and women by making sure they have the resources they need when in harms way.
"At a time when we are furloughing civilian DOD employees in the U.S., we need to take logical steps to prioritize spending in Washington," Terry said.
Rep. Terry's amendment transfers money from the controversial Afghanistan Security Forces Fund to Defense-wide Operations and Maintenance account, that provides additional resources to become available to pay hard-working civilian employees at DOD.
A recent Washington Post report says a British construction firm was hired to build a 64,000-square foot headquarters at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan's Helmand province at cost $34 million dollars. With the scheduled withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan there is no one to occupy it and that building will stand vacant.
The Capitol Hill publication National Journal reported last month: "The United States is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on aircraft, built by a Russian contractor that Afghan Special Forces can't even fly." This program costs $772 million.
And just yesterday, CNBC reported as questionable nearly $2 billion spent in the last three months that the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) uncovered in a recent audit.
Terry concluded: "This amendment is a win for the American taxpayers but most importantly, it's a win for the DOD civilian employees who serve our nation's military installations including Offutt. I look forward to the Senate passing this legislation and the President signing it into law."