Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced the "Audit the Pentagon Act of 2013" for increased transparency and accountability in the defense budget. This bipartisan bill will cut the budget of any Federal agency by five percent that does not receive an independent audit for the previous year. To protect benefits for the nation's veterans, military personnel accounts and the Defense Health Program would be exempt from cuts.
"The American people want some basic measure of accountability in the way the Pentagon spends tax dollars," said Congresswoman Lee. "The Department of Defense's refusal to provide an audit is a recipe for financial disaster. As the daughter of a veteran, I grew up believing in the power and patriotism of the U.S. military, but being patriotic does not mean blindly accepting bloated Pentagon spending."
The Congresswoman continued, "It is time to finally do away with this culture of unlimited spending and absence of accountability at the Pentagon. Especially as our economy is rebounding from the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression, this lack of fiscal transparency in the Department of Defense's budget is unacceptable; we need to turn the billions of waste, fraud, and abuse into investments in job creation. "
A recent Government Accountability Office report found that the Pentagon was impossible to audit, and highlighted significant problems with the financial management of the Pentagon. The Government Accountability Office has stated that the Pentagon is not consistently able to "control costs; ensure basic accountability; anticipate future costs; measure performance, maintain funds control; and prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse," underscoring the importance of this proposed legislation.