U.S. Rep. Ron Kind today called out his Republican colleagues for saying one thing and doing another when it comes to deficit reduction. As part of the Defense Authorization bill on the House floor today, Republicans stripped from the bill a provision requiring the Pentagon to complete an audit by 2014.
"I fully support training for our troops and providing our soldiers the equipment necessary to help them get the job done and get home safely," said Rep. Kind. "But we all know there are savings to be found in the defense budget. It is hypocritical that my Republican colleagues preach fiscal responsibility yet when they have a chance to hold the Pentagon accountable to find real savings, they kick the can down the road. This is totally and completely irresponsible to the American people and to our troops."
Making up half of all of our federal discretionary spending, there are significant ways to cut the Defense Department budget and put savings toward deficit reduction. Current weapons programs, which are $300 billion over budget, and which the Pentagon doesn't even request, could be eliminated. To rein in spending, Congress passed a law in 1994 that required the Pentagon to complete a full financial audit by 1997. But the Defense Department has repeatedly failed to meet that deadline. The most recent deadline, set for 2014, has the full support of the Pentagon, but has been postponed by Republicans in Congress for another three years, again delaying an attempt to find significant cost savings in the budget.