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Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

Carrying Coal to Kaiserslautern

June 16, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C. - For the second year in a row, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan amendment offered by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) to strike a congressional earmark from the 2017 Defense Appropriations Bill that would spend millions of dollars to ship Pennsylvania coal over 3,000 miles to American military bases in Germany. 

The “zombie” earmark, which was first included in the annual defense spending bill in 1972, requires the Department of Defense to purchase anthracite coal from Pennsylvania to heat military bases at Kaiserslautern, Germany. Until the Huffman-McClintock effort last year to bury the nearly half-century old earmark, Congress had approved the earmark every year since 1972.

Congressman McClintock delivered the following remarks on the House floor in support of the amendment:

Carrying Coal to Kaiserslautern
Huffman/McClintock Amendment to Defense Appropriations Act
Remarks by Congressman Tom McClintock
House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
June 15, 2016

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.  

    We are told that our defense budget is so stretched that we must scavenge museums for aircraft parts.  Yet there appears to be plenty of money to squander in a corrupt earmark 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 plus the cost of transporting this overpriced coal across the Atlantic Ocean and halfway across the European continent. 

    The excuse we just heard is that we would otherwise have to buy coal from Russia.  Why in the world would we want to do that?  ONE company in Poland produces 49 million tons of coal from 23 mines – it produces more coal in an hour than this military base consumes in a year!

    The objection seems particularly ludicrous considering the fact that the NDAA authorizes HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars of rocket engines to be purchased from Russia.

    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 six years, interest on the national debt will exceed what we spent this year on defense.  That makes rooting out waste like this a national defense imperative.

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