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Congress Spends More Money We Don’t Have on Things Pentagon Doesn’t Want

Speaking of smoking dope, Congress appears determined to spend more on military equipment that the military does not want:

The House panel that decides defense spending came out with a $570 billion blueprint Thursday that spares the USS George Washington aircraft carrier....

The spending bill echoes the broad defense policy bill that the House overwhelmingly passed last week that saves ships and aircraft despite pleas from senior military officers for the reductions....

Military leaders have warned that sparing what they consider to be parochial programs will undermine their ability to train soldiers, sailors and airmen to fight. But lawmakers are determined to protect favorite weapons [Donna Cassata, "House Panel Snubs Pentagon on Defense Spending," AP, 2014.05.29].

MSNBC's Steve Benen lists more items where Congressional posing trumps military budget sense:

The Pentagon requested a modest pay raise; Congress went beyond what was requested.

The Pentagon requested a slight increase in out-of-pocket costs for housing and food, in order to help control the cost of benefits; Congress turned down the request.

The Pentagon requested retiring the U-2 spy plane and the A-10 Warthog; Congress funded them anyway.

The Pentagon requested shuttering unnecessary bases; Congress is keeping them open.

Lawmakers, at least on the right, aren’t just throwing unwanted money at the department, they’re also ignoring military leaders on policy matters – the Pentagon wants to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, and Congress doesn’t care [Steve Benen, "Pentagon Asks for Less; Congress Spends More," MSNBC: MaddowBlog, 2014.05.30].

Thank goodness we've saved Senate candidate Jason Ravnsborg's favorite prop.

I thought candidates liked to get hyped up about listening to the military and not making battlefield decisions from political perspectives. But apparently neither the practical advice of the generals nor their own deficit-hawkery can stop Congresspeople seeking re-election from throwing money at the Pentagon.


  1. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.05.30

    You may remember that I commented after the first of the year, that Congress had tripled the Obama administrations request for 94 million dollars to assist the Israelis in building their missile defense shield, to 286 million and in the final passage of the bill had increased the funding to nearly a half billion dollars. This passed the House with not a single no vote.

    This is so ironic, because the Israelis have just announced that the system that was supposed to be ready in 2015, is being delayed because they, the Israelis', finance ministry has frozen funding as a means of budget restraint. The system that the Israelis somewhat biblically braggadociously call "David's Sling" will not now be ready until 2016 or later, unless our congress decides to send even more money.

  2. mike from iowa 2014.05.30

    Israel-the tail that keeps wagging the US dog.

  3. Liberty Dick 2014.05.30

    Eh, the A-10 does need to continue for a little while. It is a vital tool for troops on the ground in Afghanistan to get close air support quick, fast, and in a hurry.

  4. mike from iowa 2014.05.30

    Pull the troops out of Afghanistan-they don't belong there-problem of close air support solved.

  5. Liberty Dick 2014.05.30

    Good point ^

  6. Roger Elgersma 2014.05.30

    The big problem is congressmen each want the militarpy bases in their home state to stay open because it brings in so much federal money into their state. We do that ourselves.

  7. mike from iowa 2014.05.30

    That is the spirit od shared sacrifice-as long as it is someone else sharing the sacrifice and not me or mine. The poorest have been forced to sacrifice(welfare benefits) and the wealthiest have to sacrifice nothing. Who does that leave?

  8. John 2014.05.31

    Recapping the post: that is why Ike's early draft of his farewell speech termed the evil, the military-industrial-congressional complex.

  9. grainofsalt 2014.05.31

    I hope with all my heart that Democrats take full advantage of these opportunities that my stupid, stupid, stupid, soon-to-be former republican party is giving them to point out the many ways they are screwing over the vets and taxpayers alike. (I couldn't even bring myself to put a capital R on the word republican)

  10. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.05.31

    I saw something in the paper today about the Warthog being dropped anyway. True? False?

  11. barry freed 2014.06.04

    "Talk about smoking dope"
    The 1930's are over, but the racism continues on.
    We do it to ourselves and each other while they laugh and profit. Stop the hate, think about our words, and don't perpetuate ignorant stereotypes.

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