It's a Weekday, So Congress is Taking Your Liberities

The House will vote on the Massie-Lofgren Amendment on backdoor searches in a few hours, so Campaign for Liberty members should call their representative to support the amendment.

Representatives Massie and Jones are also introducing an amendment that would stop the use of taxpayer money to wage a war on drugs in Afghanistan.

Campaign for Liberty is also supporting two amendments to the DOD appropriations bills aimed at eliminating crony capitalism in the DOD budget. One removes a requirement that the Defense Department use American products to heat a base in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

The other one preserves the cash voucher system for solders to purchase their shoes, instead of having to buy them from a store than complies with federal requirements that only one vendor can meet.

For more details on the issue, please take a look at this collation letter:

We, the undersigned organizations representing millions of taxpayers, urge all Representatives to support amendments that would strike anti-competitive provisions in H.R. 5293, the Fiscal Year 2017 Department of Defense (DOD) Appropriations Act.

  • Amendment #17 (8), sponsored by Representatives Huffman (D-CA) and McClintock (R-CA), would strike language in the underlying bill requiring the Air Force to use a domestically-produced energy-source as the base load energy for heating at the Kaiserslautern, Germany defense installations. The bill language is a slight modification of a decades-old earmark that was finally eliminated only last year. Past iterations even prevented upgrades of the boilers on several military bases, which could have taken advantage of alternative lower-cost energy sources, and required that the coal used be shipped from Pennsylvania.

Still, this requirement limits the Pentagon’s options and requires shipping an energy-input across the Atlantic, despite the availability of potentially competitive fuel sources from Germany or Poland. Any savings that could be achieved by finding a more local source for coal or upgrading the heating system to accommodate other fuel, are worth investigating.

  • Amendment #21 (29), sponsored by Representatives Sanford (R-SC), Brat (R-VA), and Hastings (D-FL), would preserve the cash voucher system currently used to allow new recruits to purchase their preferred running shoes. This would reverse the protectionist policy enshrined in both the House and Senate National Defense Authorization Acts (NDAA) for FY 17 that would require the Secretary of Defense to furnish athletic footwear that comply with the “Berry Amendment” (Section 2533a of Title 10 in the U.S. Code), which only the New Balance company can fulfill, restricting service peoples’ choices.

Without Congressional action to prevent the enactment of this cronyist measure, the “New Balance” provision could permanently expand the misguided Berry Amendment.

Doubling-down on outdated policies that limit competition and artificially prop up a favored industry or company impedes the Pentagon’s ability to pursue cost-savings and efficiency. Representatives should encourage open and fair competition to ensure that taxpayers – and the Pentagon – obtain the best value for their funding.

To that end, we urge all Representatives to vote “Yes” on amendments #17 and #21 to H.R. 5293.


National Taxpayers Union
Campaign for Liberty
Center for Freedom and Prosperity
Coalition to Reduce Spending
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Heritage Action for America
Less Government
Niskanen Center
R Street Institute
Taxpayers for Common Sense
Taxpayers Protection Alliance

The House will also consider H.R. 5471, the Countering Terrorist Radicalization Act. This bill combines several previously passed pieces of legislation including the Amplifying Local Efforts to Root out Terror Act (H.R. 4401). This act gives the Homeland Security Department authority to train state and local governments as well as fusion centers on how to "...counter violent extremism, identify and report suspicious activities, and increase awareness of and more quickly identify terrorism threats, including the travel or attempted travel of individuals from the United States to support a foreign terrorist organization."

Concerns have been raised that efforts to counter violent extremism can be used as an excuse to label those with unpopular political views -- including members of the liberty movement -- as potential terrorists.

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