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CONGRESSMAN BISHOP ON UNDERFUNDING NATIONAL SECURITY

May 23, 2015 at 4:16 am

Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) opposed the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2016.

“The budget caps, which Congress refuses to change, will be damaging to our national security. Today, the rubber meets the road,” said Congressman Bishop. “While the NDAA has never been perfect, the version offered by the Majority shortchanges our service members and the safety of our nation, effectively rejecting the opportunity to meet the challenges of our time, improve how our government allocates taxpayer resources, invest in the American people, and provide critical long-term certainty for our armed forces.”

But instead of giving our military and our budget certainty, Republicans are asking Congress to vote for a blatant, short-term, and irresponsible accounting gimmick amounting to tens of billions of dollars. As Defense Secretary Ash Carter testified last week, Republicans’ approach is “clearly a road to nowhere,” “managerially unsound,” and “unfairly dispiriting to our force.”

Based on the Republican Budget, the bill allocates $38 billion to the overseas contingency operations (OCO) account to pay for base budget requirements, using this gimmick to claim to be complying with the Sequester Cap on Defense

  • This bill is based on the Republican Budget, adding $38 billion to OCO to pay for base budget requirements, using this gimmick to claim to be complying with the sequester cap on defense. The effect of the Republican Budget is to lift the sequester on defense (using the gimmick of OCO), while keeping in place the sequester on non-defense.
  • Specifically, the bill authorizes $496 billion in discretionary funding for the base budget for the Department of Defense and $19 billion in discretionary spending for the defense-related activities of the Department of Energy in FY 2016 – totaling $515 billion.
  • However, the bill also authorizes $89.2 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding in FY 2016, which is $38.3 billion more than the President’s OCO request. The bill identifies the difference of $38.3 billion in discretionary budget authority in support of base budget requirements.
  • The total funding of $604.2 billion in discretionary spending for defense in the bill is equal to the President’s request.

The White House has promised a veto on the NDAA if passed with irresponsible levels of funding for our military. A number of human rights, civil liberties, national security, and religious organizations have also urged Congress to vote no on the current NDAA bill and pass a more responsible budget for our armed forces. Those groups include: American Civil Liberties Union; Amnesty International USA; Appeal for Justice; Bill of Rights Defense Committee; The Center for Victims of Torture; The Constitution Project; Council on American-Islamic Relations; Defending Dissent Foundation; Friends Committee on National Legislation; Human Rights First; Human Rights Watch; National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; National Religious Campaign Against Torture; National Security Network; Reprieve; Win Without War.

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