Congress may consider the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act Conference Report as early as this week. Sadly, but not surprisingly, this year's NDAA increases spending by "hiding" $38 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operations Fund (OCO). Since OCO spending is considered "emergency spending," these funds do not count against the budget caps. So OCO enables the defense hawks to increase defense spending while pretending to be complying with the law.
Campaign for Liberty has joined a coalition of groups across the political spectrum in a letter urging members of Congress to vote against the NDAA because of the OCO funding. Of course, this "stealth" spending increase is far from the only reason to oppose the NDAA. For example,the NDAA authorizes the President's power of' "indefinite detention" and authorizes US Military intervention around the world.
Here is the text of the coalition letter urging opposition to the NDAA conference report:
September 30, 2015
We, the undersigned groups, are writing to urge a “no” vote on the Fiscal Year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act as reported out of conference. We are deeply troubled by the $38 billion added to the Overseas Contingency Operations slush fund.
The disregard for the goal of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) caps on discretionary spending, the use of a budget gimmick to flout the budget ceiling’s caps, and the lack of transparency surrounding the bill all make the passage of this NDAA irresponsible.
The Armed Services Committees have indicated that the conferenced NDAA uses extra funds added to the Overseas Contingency Operations account to pay for base budget priorities. This is a cynical maneuver that enables lawmakers to claim they maintained the statutory cap on defense spending, while exploiting BCA provisions that allow OCO or emergency spending outside of the caps.
The NDAA plays an important role in Congress’ oversight of the Pentagon and its responsibility to our troops and safety. When it is used to create a slush fund of unaccountable cash to fund pet projects in and out of the Pentagon’s budget, it grievously undermines the budget process.
We urge you to vote no.
American Friends Service Committee
Campaign for Liberty
Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
Center for Defense Information
Center for International Policy
Council for a Livable World
London Center for Policy Research
National Priorities Project
National Security Network
National Taxpayers Union
Progressive Democrats of America
Project on Government Oversight
Taxpayers for Common Sense
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
United for Peace and Justice
U.S. Labor Against the War
Win Without War
Tags: NDAA, Defense spending