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Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

Amendments Forbidding Defense Dollars From Being Spent on Coal Earmark and Green Energy Mandates Adopted

June 11, 2015
Press Release

Washington, D.C.  – An amendment authored by Congressman McClintock and a bi-partisan amendment co-authored with Congressman Jared Huffman have been adopted by the House of Representatives to H.R. 2685 - FY16 Department of Defense Appropriations Act. 

The Huffman-McClintock amendment strikes an unnecessary, expensive and wasteful half-century old earmark that requires the U.S. military base in Kaiserslautern, Germany to buy an expensive specific type of coal from Pennsylvania.  The provision has cost taxpayers millions of dollars and the amendment frees up funds that the military needs to defend the nation.  

The 36 other U.S. military installations in Germany operate effectively, and at a cost savings, without being forced into the same arrangement as Kaiserslautern.  The Huffman-McClintock amendment was adopted by a bipartisan vote of 252 – 179. 

The House also adopted a separate amendment authored by Congressman McClintock to save an estimated $7 billion by stopping expenditures for the Administration’s “green energy” programs.  

“At a time when we are defending the nation both from external threats and a steadily mounting national debt, there is no excuse for wasting money in the defense budget,” Congressman McClintock said.  “It is gratifying that the House is ending this wasteful spending, no matter how long-standing or well-intentioned it may be.”  

H.R. 2685 -  FY16 Department of Defense Appropriations Act was passed by the House by a vote of 278 - 149 and next goes to the Senate.

The Congressman’s remarks in support of both amendments are attached.


Anthracite Coal Amendment
Department of Defense Appropriations Bill

VIDEO LINK

Mr. Chairman:

            I do not support the war on coal waged by this administration and my friends on the left.  

            I DO support the war on waste, and I support this amendment based on that fiscal imperative.  

            Just a few weeks ago, so-called defense hawks demanded spending well in excess of budget caps because, they said our defense spending had been stretched to the breaking point. 
 
            In light of those warnings, I find it inexcusable that these scarce defense dollars would be so recklessly squandered in a corrupt earmark from a disgraced and deceased Pennsylvania Congressman that dates back to 1961.  

            That earmark requires that one – and only one – American Air Force base in Kaiserslautern, Germany must purchase 9,000 tons of Pennsylvania anthracite coal a year at a grossly inflated price estimated to be $20 million (or about 80 percent more expensive than commonly used coal).  And that doesn’t include the cost of transporting this overpriced coal across the Atlantic Ocean and halfway across the European continent – a cost that is absorbed elsewhere in the Air Force Budget.  

            The excuse is that we would otherwise be dependent on Putin, but that doesn’t hold water – no other U.S. military base in Europe is required to buy this coal – only Kaiserslautern.  
 
            The Pentagon and successive Presidents have consistently protested this waste – but these protests have fallen on deaf ears in Congress – even while we’re told that our defense spending has been cut to the bone.  

            If we don’t change the spending trajectory of this government, the Congressional Budget Office warns that in the next ten years, just paying the interest on the national debt will exceed our entire defense budget.  That makes rooting out waste like this a national defense imperative.
        
Green Energy Executive Orders
Department of Defense Appropriations Bill

(amendment was approved by voice vote)

VIDEO LINK

Mr. Chairman:

            This amendment forbids scarce defense dollars from being spent to fund three executive orders and several other provisions of law that require the military to squander billions of dollars on so-called “Green Energy.”

            The House adopted this amendment by a voice vote last year.  

            I would again remind the House that just a few weeks ago, so-called defense hawks warned that our defense budget had been strangled by sequestration; that every dollar of waste had long ago been wrung from the Pentagon; and that our national security was directly imperiled as a result.  

            That argument carried the day, even though it will add billions of dollars to the national debt.

            Yet, though we were told we didn’t have enough money to adequately pay and supply troops in the field, it seems we have plenty of defense money to indulge the “Green Energy” mandates that are imposed upon our armed forces.

            What truly troubles me is that this was all aired during debate on the DOD appropriations bill last year, the limiting amendments were adopted by voice, and yet we see this same waste being allowed to continue in this year’s bill.

            Let me refresh memories about these green energy mandates.  

            The GAO reports that these mandates have cost the Navy as much as $150 per gallon for jet fuel.  In 2012, the Navy was forced to purchase 450,000 gallons of bio-fuel for its so-called “Green Fleet at the cost of $26.60 per gallon, when conventional petroleum cost just $2.50 per gallon.

            These mandates forced the Air Force to pay $59 per gallon for 11,000 gallons of biofuel in 2012 – ten times more than regular jet fuel cost.

            It’s not just biofuels.

            Last year, the Pentagon was required to purchase over 1,000 Chevy Volts, at a subsidized price of $40,000 each.  

            As Sen. Coburn’s office pointed out, “EACH ONE of these $40,000 Chevy Volts represents the choice NOT to provide an entire infantry platoon with all new rifles, or 50,000 rounds of ammunition that cannot be used for realistic training.”

            These “green energy” mandates have required the Army and Navy to install solar arrays at various facilities.  At Naval Station Norfolk, the Navy spent $21 million dollars to install a 10 acre solar array – which will supply a grand total of two percent of the base’s electricity.  

            According to the Inspector General’s office, this project will save enough money to pay for itself in just 447 years.  (Too bad that solar panels only last about 25 years).

            We don’t know exactly how much these mandates waste because, as the GAO reports, “There is currently no comprehensive inventory of which federal agencies are implementing renewable energy related initiatives and the types of initiatives they are implementing.”  But outside estimates are as much as $7 billion for the Department of Defense last year; a figure that is expected to grow in the future.  
            
            We’re told this program is necessary for flexibility.  Really?  Shouldn’t “flexibility” free us to get cheaper and more plentiful fuels – not more expensive and exotic ones? 

            We’re told that the military should do its part for the environment – as if it is possible to fight an environmentally sensitive war.  

            That, I fear, is the real reason for this wasteful spending: to sacrifice our military budget on the altar of climate change.  This is part of an ideological crusade imposed on our military that will pointlessly consume billions of defense dollars, mainly to keep money flowing to politically well-connected “green energy” companies that can’t get anyone else to buy their products.
            
            There’s a reason Admiral Mullin warned us that in his professional military judgment, the greatest threat to our national security is our national debt.  We just increased that debt because of assurances we had stretched the defense budget to the breaking point.

            As long as this program continues to consume billions of our defense dollars, this claim cannot be taken seriously.

 

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