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House Approves Welch Amendment to Ban Taxpayer Purchase of Afghan Uniforms

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Location: Washington, DC

Yesterday, the House of Representatives approved Rep. Peter Welch's amendment to prohibit the Pentagon from using taxpayer dollars to purchase uniforms for Afghan National Army. The House vote follows a finding by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) that the Department of Defense wasted $28 million on licensing a camouflage pattern for Afghan army uniforms that replicates lush forests, even though most of Afghanistan is a desert.

"Wasteful spending like this undermines public confidence, especially when President Trump is proposing an unnecessary and dramatic increase in the Pentagon spending at the expense of domestic programs," said Rep. Welch.

Defense Secretary James Mattis sharply criticized the wasteful expenditure. "Buying uniforms for our Afghan partners, and doing so in a way that may have wasted tens of millions of taxpayer dollars over a 10-year period, must not be seen as inconsequential in the grand scheme of the department's responsibilities and budget," he wrote in a memo to Pentagon staff.

Welch's bipartisan amendment was added to the fiscal year 2018 defense appropriations bill by voice vote. The amended bill was approved by the full House last evening and sent to the Senate for consideration.

Cosponsors of the Welch amendment were Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), and Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI).


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