Today, Americans for Tax Reform and its Center for Fiscal Accountability were joined by taxpayer groups representing millions of concerned citizens in urging the House of Representatives to eliminate wasteful spending from the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill, which will be debated this week, authorizes $690 billion in defense spending and has been used in the past to shuttle wasteful pork projects through Congress under the guise of national security. With the House-imposed ban on earmarks, Members of Congress have gotten more creative, authorizing accounts with deliberate language that leaves the door open for future spending. What's more, the DOD authorization bill will require an appropriations bill to be fully fleshed out, allowing members to create placeholders in the NDAA bill they hope appropriators will fill. In the letter sent to the hill today, the coalition called attention to a specific example of this kind of spending, asking leadership to resist efforts to continue to fund one of the Pentagon's wasteful missile systems. From the letter:
On behalf of the millions of concerned taxpayers represented by our organizations we write to urge you to bring the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 to the floor with an eye for waste and inefficiencies. One of the first tests of this Congress’s fiscal discipline for 2012, the Defense Authorization bill should not be used to shuttle wasteful spending in the name of national security.
And yet, the bill that passed from the House Armed Service Committee is rife with waste that impinges, rather than enhances, our country’s security. Notably, the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), which stands to receive over $200 million in the NDAA markup, represents another duplicative and wasteful allocation of scarce taxpayer dollars.
Meant originally to replace the Patriot missile defense system, MEADS is a multinational agreement between the United States, Germany and Italy from the nineties, with American taxpayers footing the majority of the bill. Cost overruns and delays have made MEADS a second-rate and more expensive alternative to a modernized Patriot program.
Click here to view the letter in its entirety.