Senate Votes For Pork Over Troops

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) said today, “In a time of war it is unconscionable for members of Congress to divert funds from vital operations to less-than-vital parochial pork projects. I regret the Senate voted today to protect their pet projects at the expense of our troops,” after the Senate rejected Coburn’s amendments that would have forced Congress to shift earmark funds back toward vital operations and maintenance for our troops rather than pork projects. The vote was 25 to 73, which rejected the restoration of $165 million earmarked within the Defense appropriations bill’s maintenance and operations accounts for congressional earmarks.

Publius writing for Big Government states:

The operations and maintenance (O&M) accounts ensure military readiness by providing much needed funds for training troops for combat and for maintaining tanks, airplanes, ships, and related equipment such as the purchase of spare parts. O&M accounts also fund a wide range of activities such as civilian personnel management and payments, transportation expenses, health care, and child care. In May 2009, the U.S. Navy ran out of O&M funding and had to reduce training hours for carrier air wings and at-sea time for some ships. The earmarks funded in the 2010 Defense appropriations bill raid these accounts that are essential to the protection of our troops and our nation’s defense to pay for $165 million or earmarks not requested by the military.

Are the American people paying attention to this?  Our President has managed to gag his commander in the Afghan War, General Stanley McChrystal, and appears to be backing away from finishing this war successfully.  He does not want to send the additional troops needed.  And now the Senate does not want to support our brave men and women in the field and help them in their success.  Our troops have been hog-tied through this war and not allowed to fight this war the way we know they can and now they will be hampered further.  I am sure this does much to build the morale of our troops.  We the People are sick to death of government waste and earmarks and now to have our military being passed over for those earmarks is infuriating!

Here is the breakdown of the Coburn amendments:

Amendment 2566 — To restore over $165 million in operations and maintenance funding to members of the Armed Forces to prepare for and conduct combat operations by prohibiting funding of earmarks from operations and maintenance accounts, defeated by a vote of 25 to 73.

Amendment 2565 — To require the National Guard and Reserve Component to submit their modernization priorities to the entire Congress, and seek input from Secretary of Defense Gates, defeated by a vote of 28 to 70.

Coburn amendments accepted:

Amendment 2563— To require all reports authorized in this bill be publicized and accessible to the public once completed.

Amendment number 2585 — To restore $100 million in operations and maintenance funding to members of the Armed Forces to prepare for and conduct combat operations by accounting for the August 2009 Congressional Budget Office economic assumptions and reducing funding for low-priority research and development earmarks.

3 responses to “Senate Votes For Pork Over Troops

  1. That’s my senator, and we’re lucky to have him. Thanks for writing about this; so much going on it’s hard to keep up with all of it.

    This administration would be comical, right out of a Monty Python-type script, if it weren’t so deadly serious. They are so bad, it is almost surreal.

    The president and those around him are interested in only one thing: increase of power. They do not care about America nor the American people.

  2. My very thought just today, Conservative Pup, that this whole fiasco would be hilarious if it wasn’t so tragic.

    When one looks at more of the picture of how this administration is going about setting our military up for failure, it makes me shudder. The picture is beginning to look bleak for all those serving in Afghanistan, many of whom have made the ultimate sacrifice, all patriots serving with pride and who strove so diligently to honorably achieve success for their nation in its honorable and just cause. Their nation is preparing to pass to them a bitter cup of defeat and humiliation and will expect them to accept it willingly while knowing that they can and would accomplish their mission if only they were allowed to carry out their commitment to do what they were asked to do.

    I follow the activities of a particular unit there in the “Stan” . That’s how soldiers there refer to Afghanistan according to my son who is deployed as a member of that unit. It’s a medical unit in Kandahar which deployed there over two months ago from Fort Lewis. That unit’s shipping containers which contained over two million dollars worth of much needed medical equipment, supplies, personnel records, soldier’s personal equipment and belongings, etc, was lost but finally arrived only a few days ago. Unfortunately, when they opened them they found the entire contents had been looted somewhere enroute. Upon looking into that story I learn that this sort of thing has been happening quite often. One soldier informed my wife that this was happening to 15-20% of such shipments. Nobody seems to know if it’s happening while still in the states or while in transit through Russia or Pakistan. Every soldier’s unit personnel record was compromised – every soldiers name, address, date of birth, social security number, names of next of kin with addresses and phone numbers; every soldier’s personal belongings and essential equipment which couldn’t be carried on his back while enroute there. And most of the critically needed medical equipment necessary for this unit to carry out its mission.

    It’s deplorable. Here’s a link to that story: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/military/story/904070.html Read for yourselves how things are going for our volunteers.

  3. John,

    Thank you for the sharing that story, and for the link. I also thank your son and your family for his service. Stories like this are so very frustrating; I’m a nurse, and hold the medical units close to my heart, and for their equipment to disappear is just sickening. I hope your son didn’t lose too many personal items either.

    Send your son my best wishes and hearty thanks, and I keep all of you in my prayers. God bless you and yours.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s