Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Representatives Mick Mulvaney (SC-05), Barbara Lee (CA-13), and Mark Sanford (SC-01) joined forces to pass an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that will help prevent abuse of the Overseas Contingency Operations slush fund. For years, the federal government has been using monies designated as the "war budget" to spend taxpayer dollars "off the books."
"The egregious OCO budgeting gimmick is not only fiscally irresponsible, but it also has the potential to put our troops in danger," Congressman Van Hollen said. "It's unconscionable that in the very piece of legislation that is supposed to support and protect our troops, some would rather use smoke and mirrors to fund pet projects and skirt bipartisan funding levels at the expense of our soldiers serving in harm's way. I am pleased this amendment passed on a bipartisan basis. I hope it is an indication that there is growing support to eliminate this gimmick in conference so that we can fully support our troops and bring more accountability to how we spend taxpayer dollars."
"I've worked for many years to bring attention to the slush fund that is the War Budget," Congressman Mulvaney said. "It's past time to do away with the slush fund entirely. While this amendment doesn't go that far, yet, I'm proud to work with my colleagues to at least bring some accountability to how the Pentagon spends taxpayer dollars right now."
"I am pleased to join Congressmen Mulvaney, Van Hollen and Sanford in offering an amendment to bring some basic limits to the Pentagon's slush fund, also known as the OCO account," said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. "The OCO account is nothing more than a budgeting gimmick that allows the Pentagon to fight wars off the books. It's past time to stop this practice and bring oversight to our war spending."
"If the government values something, it should find a way to pay for it in a forthright fashion instead of filtering money through war funding as a way of getting around the budget caps," said Congressman Sanford. "I adamantly support Mr. Mulvaney's amendment because it is aimed at eliminating such defense budget gimmickery."