Follow us on social

Shutterstock_732504547-scaled-e1648755059685

Dem, GOP lawmakers want to cut the DOD budget if it can’t pass an audit

The Defense Department is only federal agency to have never successfully passed financial health test and many in Congress now seek consequences.

Military Industrial Complex

Since the early 1990s, all federal agencies have been required to undergo regular, independent financial audits. The Pentagon is the only government agency to have never passed one, most recently failing for the fifth consecutive time in November 2022, when it accounted for just 39 percent of its $3.5 trillion in assets.

On Thursday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers — Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Michael Burgess (R-Texas), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.)— introduced a bill aiming to change that. The Audit the Pentagon Act would require any office of the Department of Defense that does not pass a clean audit to forfeit part of its budget. If passed, the legislation would administer a 0.5 percent cut to the budget in the first year without a successful audit, then increase to 1 percent in subsequent years.  

In the 2022 audit, only seven of the 27 investigated areas earned a clean bill of financial health.

"It's really not acceptable for just a collective shrug of the shoulders and say, ‘Well, we just couldn’t do it'," Burgess told Fox Business. "This is important. Other work they [the DoD] do is important. In no way does this diminish the importance of what is perhaps our most profound requirement of the Constitution, and that is to provide for the defense of our nation, but you also need to do so responsibly. And the Pentagon does need to be able to account for the money it's getting and how it's being spent." 

Despite its repeated inability to pass an audit, the Pentagon budget has continued to grow substantially. The DOD’s request for Fiscal Year 2024 came in at $842 billion. As Quincy Institute research fellow William Hartung noted when the request was released in March, Congress will likely add a substantial amount to the Pentagon’s request. “That’s no way to craft a budget — or defend a country,” Hartung wrote. “When it comes to defense, Congress should engage in careful oversight, not special interest politics.” 

Lee and Pocan have led on a number of issues related to Pentagon budgets. Earlier this year, they reintroduced the People over Pentagon Act, which would have cut the budget by $100 billion, representing the largest single-year DoD budget cut. 

“We cannot justify continuing to increase the Pentagon budget when the agency cannot even successfully pass an audit,” said Pocan in a press release. “This bill will provide a powerful incentive to Pentagon leaders to get their fiscal house in order. DoD has a history of little accountability while pouring billions into weapons systems that just don’t work properly. It's past time to rein in spending on ineffective programs and restore fiscal discipline to the Pentagon.”

Image: Artem Avetisyan via shutterstock.com
Military Industrial Complex
Foreign aid vote shows stark generational divide in GOP

Left-to-right: Senator-elect Ted Budd (R-N.C.); Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate Minority Leader; Senator-elect Katie Britt (R-AL); and Senator-elect J.D. Vance (R-OH) pose for a photo before meeting in Leader McConnell’s office, at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, November 15, 2022. (Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA)

Foreign aid vote shows stark generational divide in GOP

Washington Politics

The so-called GOP “civil war” over the role the United States should play in the world made headlines earlier this week when the Senate finally passed a national security supplemental that provides $60 billion in aid for Ukraine and $14 billion for Israel.

The legislation, which was supported by President Joe Biden and the overwhelming majority of the Senate’s Democratic caucus, proved more controversial among Republicans. Twenty-two GOP Senators voted in favor of the legislation, while 27 opposed it.

keep readingShow less
Will Egypt suspend the Camp David Accords?

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat shakes hands with U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in September 1978. (Public Domain photo courtesy of Carter Library)

Will Egypt suspend the Camp David Accords?

Middle East

Since October, Egypt has joined most of the international community in calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. With Egypt being the only Arab country to border Gaza, Cairo’s stakes are high. The longer Israel’s war on the besieged enclave continues, the threats to Egypt’s economy, national security, and political stability will become more serious.

Located along the Gaza-Egypt border is Rafah, a 25-square-mile city that until recently was home to 300,000 Palestinians. Now approximately 1.4 million Palestinians are sheltering in Rafah because of the Israeli military’s wanton destruction of Gaza City, Khan Younis, and other parts of the Strip. Having asserted that four Hamas battalions are now in Rafah, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared that deploying Israeli forces to this Palestinian city is necessary for his country to defeat Hamas amid this war. As of writing, Israel’s military is preparing to launch a campaign for Rafah.

keep readingShow less
Munich Dispatch: After Adiivka, Zelensky insists Russians are losing

Volodymyr Zelensky speaks at the Munich Security Conference, Feb. 17, 2024. (David Hecker/MSC)

Munich Dispatch: After Adiivka, Zelensky insists Russians are losing

Europe

MUNICH, GERMANY — If U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris dominated the first day of the Munich Security Conference with her remarks, today it was German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s turn.

It was not only Zelensky who understandably devoted his whole speech to the Ukraine War but also Scholz, too. The German Chancellor, while boasting that his country will devote 2% of its GDP to defense expenditures this year, remarked that “we Europeans need to do much more for our security now and in the future.”

keep readingShow less

Israel-Gaza Crisis

Latest