Blumenauer Offers Defense Amendments to Reduce Spending, Rehabilitate Used Defense Sites
Washington, DC – Congressman Earl Blumenauer offered a series of amendments to the Fiscal Year 2014 Defense Appropriations Bill. The bill contains $512.5 billion in non-war funding plus an additional $85.5 billion in war funding for Overseas Contingency Operations, making a total of $598.3 billion. Adjusted for inflation, this is one of the highest amounts ever spent by the Department of Defense, including the period of unprecedented military buildup during the Cold War.
“We’re winding down two wars and facing a very different situation than we were when the Soviet Union was preparing for our annihilation,” said Blumenauer. “And yet here we are funding a military that is geared toward these threats from the past, instead of listening to our military leaders and preparing for the threats we face right now.”
Congressman Blumenauer’s amendments were geared toward reducing some of this unnecessary spending and keeping our public lands safe.
The first amendment, which did not pass, would have reduced the amount spent on Ohio-class submarines by 10%. Ohio-class submarines carry approximately 50% of the United States’ nuclear arsenal.
“Nuclear weapons are hazardous and expensive to store and maintain, with a projected cost of two-thirds of a trillion dollars over the next ten years,” continued Blumenauer. “We can certainly afford to make a small reduction to one of the three, redundant, delivery systems.”
As founder and co-chair of the Congressional Unexploded Ordinance (UXO) Caucus, Congressman Blumenauer also introduced an amendment to restore funding to the Defense Environmental Restoration Program-Formerly Used Defense Sites Program (DERP-FUDS) to FY 2013 levels. 2,600 properties nationwide still require cleanup of dangerous explosives and harmful chemicals left over from military training in order to be safely reused at an estimated cost of over $18 billion. FY 2013 DERP-FUDS funding was $287 million but has been cut to $262 in the FY 2014 bill.
“The Department of Defense has an obligation to remediate these areas, which are often in public places, in a timely fashion,” continued Blumenauer. “This program employs skilled high tech workers to clean up this land and prepare it for economic development. I’m disappointed that the amendment failed because we need the opportunity to do this right.”
Unfortunately, the amendment failed by a vote of 176-242.