U.S. Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and John McCain (R-AZ) released the following statement today regarding their plans to force Congress to pay for the supplemental spending bill that will help fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other activities. Full background on the Coburn/McCain amendments will be posted here.
"A vote to pay for the war is a vote for the troops, and for our country. By borrowing and spending way beyond our means, Congress is undermining our troops' core mission to secure our freedom for future generations. Our amendments show that Congress can live within its means and pay for this bill. The federal government and the Department of Defense, in particular, are rife with waste that could be eliminated to pay for legitimate priorities," Dr. Coburn said.
"Designating war spending as an unforeseen emergency year after year is a farce that is designed to help politicians avoid hard budget choices. We can't afford to play games with the defense budget any longer. The time for honest budgeting and responsible choices is now," Dr. Coburn said.
"Some say the fiscally-responsible way to pay for our war costs is to increase taxes. We disagree. The American people, particularly our soldiers and their families, are sacrificing enough already. It's time for politicians in Washington to make sacrifices and forgo their earmarks and other special deals to help provide our troops with the support and equipment they need," McCain said.
Senators Coburn and McCain will file two amendments to pay for the supplemental.
Amendment #1 saves taxpayers $60.3 billion by doing the following:
* Cutting budgets of members of Congress ($100 million)
* Disposing of unneeded and unused government property ($15 billion)
* Auctioning and selling unused and unneeded equipment ($250 million -- over ten years)
* Rescinding unspent and uncommitted federal funds ($45 billion)
Amendment #2 saves taxpayers $59.6 billion by doing the following:
* Freezing raises, bonuses and salary increases for federal employees for one year ($2.6 billion)
* Collecting unpaid taxes from federal employees ($3 billion)
* Reducing printing and publishing costs of the government documents ($4.4 billion -- over ten years)
* Reducing excessive duplication, overhead and spending within the federal government ($20 billion)
* Eliminating non-essential government travel ($10 billion -- over ten years)
* Eliminating bonuses for poor performance by government contractors ($8 billion -- over ten years)
* Repealing the Energy Star program ($627 million -- over ten years)
* Eliminating increase in foreign aid for international organizations ($68 million)
* Limiting voluntary payments to the United Nations ($10 billion -- over ten years)
* Striking unnecessary appropriations for salaries and expenses of a government commission Congress ignored, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission ($1.8 million)
* Rescinding a State Department training facility that was not requested by the community where it is to be constructed ($500 million)