On Tuesday, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) revealed that she would be reintroducing legislation that would require an audit of the Pentagon in the 113th Congress – and idea Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) voiced full support for in 2012.
“Oftentimes my colleagues don’t really realize that the Pentagon has not been audited, cannot be audited, and we need it audited,” Lee said at a Capitol Hill press conference.
In the 112th Congress, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) introduced the “Audit the Pentagon” act, and that was supported by Sen. Rand Paul, who was ranked as the most conservative senator through a ranking system developed by two political science professors.
At a rally days before the 2012 Republican Convention, Paul told a crowd of his father’s supporters that “because we’ve talked about audit the Fed so much, we’re now talking about audit the Pentagon,” and later said that he’d tell Republicans at the GOP Convention that “Republicans need to acknowledge that not every dollar is well spent or sacred in the military and we have to look for ways to make every department accountable.”
Lee, the most liberal member of the House of Representatives according to one ranking system, made her comments in the midst of the discussing a new bill the Congressional Progressive Caucus is introducing to reduce the deficit – progressive style.
The bill, the Balancing Act, which Lee says will contain language to audit the Pentagon, achieves deficit reduction by closing numerous tax loopholes and cutting spending from the Department of Defense. The bill is also designed to create jobs – and the bill’s advocates maintain that the legislation will help create one million jobs. It also eliminates the sequester enacted by the Budget Control Act.
According to a Congressional Progressive Caucus memo, the Balancing Act will cut $278 billion from the Pentagon’s budget – which Lee maintains will not harm U.S. national security – and will raise nearly a trillion dollars in revenue ($960 billion) by closing various tax loopholes.
“Only the wasteful, excessive, and bloated spending is targeted,” she said.
Additionally, it will shore up jobs for teachers and provide funds to modernize 35,000 schools (both efforts combined cost $55 billion), and direct spending to infrastucture projects ($160 billion).
The F-35 fighter jet and the V-22 Osprey would be on the chopping block, but the F-35s will be replaced by the F-18 fighter jet, to name a few cuts from the Defense budget. U.S. troops stationed in Europe would also be permanently relocated back to the states and the size of the military would be reduced through attrition.