Lewis continues to push for DoD efficiencies
WASHINGTON, D.C.- Congressman Jason Lewis (MN-02) issued the following statement in regards to the six amendments he cosponsored or submitted to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 in the name of promoting more transparency and accountability at the Department of Defense (DoD).
“At a time when our national debt is over $21 trillion, Americans are questioning whether Washington is serious about reducing government spending. But genuine shared sacrifice means every program and every department deserves fiscal scrutiny. Though we must provide the additional resources our troops need to protect us, the $700 billion Pentagon budget also needs reform. That’s why it’s crucial that we work toward full auditability of the Department of Defense and why I introduced the Defense Spending Accountability Act last year. It is also why I have worked on six bipartisan amendments to the FY19 NDAA to increase oversight, transparency, and accountability at the DoD, including leading an amendment to ensure that we authorize DoD programs before we appropriate money to them—a neglected protocol that was exploited during the last omnibus when Congress appropriated billions of dollars to numerous unauthorized programs. Since coming to Congress, I’ve promoted across the board spending restraint and I will continue to push for DoD fiscal responsibility.”
Background: The following are the six amendments Congressman Lewis cosponsored or submitted to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019.
1) Requires a report ranking all military departments and Defense Agencies in order of how advanced they are in achieving auditable financial statements as required by law. The DoD is still the only department in the federal government that is not auditable, even though it has been required in law for decades. Cosponsors: Lee, Barbara (CA), Lance (NJ), DeFazio (OR), Jones (NC), Welch (VT), Schakowsky (IL)
2) Reduces the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) by $9,000,000,000. The FY18 Budget Resolution set OCO spending to decrease to $60 billion in FY19. Unfortunately, the FY19 NDAA has OCO at $69 billion. The amendment simply brining OCO spending in line with FY18 Budget Resolution. Cosponsors: Welch (VT), Jones (NC)
3) Instructs the Comptroller General of the United States to submit to Congress a report on how funds authorized for overseas contingency operations were ultimately spent. Far too often, OCO expenditures are inherently unaccountable and this amendment will bring needed oversight to how these dollars are being used. Cosponsors: Norman (SC), Welch (VT), Jones (NC)
4) Ensures no later than 90 days after enactment, the Secretary of the Air Force shall publicly disclose the total dollar amount of any B-21 contracts. This amendment will bring needed transparency to a projected that is estimated to cost $42 billion. Cosponsors: Blumenauer (OR), Lee, Barbara (CA), Schweikert (AZ)
5) When selling defense systems to foreign partners, Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) is tasked with recouping some of the costs of developing a system in addition to the cost of the actual items. This defrays the cost of research and development for American taxpayers. The amendment Increases transparency and accountability for cost waivers issued by DSCA. In recent years DSCA approved 192 waivers worth $8.78 billion to countries in the Middle East like Saudi Arabia and Quarter. DSCA approved of 99% waivers and a recent GAO report estimated the waivers amounted to $16 billion in costs not recouped by the federal government from FY2012- FY2017. Cosponsors: Raskin (MD), Duncan (TN)
6) Requires that all procurement and R&D programs that were not requested in the President’s Budget Request be fully authorized in the NDAA before funds can be appropriated on them. Far too often Congress appropriates money without reauthorizing the program. This is an irresponsible way to legislate and it leads to waste.