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Jayapal, McClintock, Davidson, Garamendi, Moulton Introduce Bipartisan Solution to Cut Wasteful Pentagon Spending

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Tom McClintock (CA-05), Warren Davidson (OH-08), John Garamendi (CA-08), and Seth Moulton (MA-06) are introducing bipartisan legislation to reform wasteful budget practices at the Department of Defense. The Streamline Pentagon Budgeting Act would repeal the statutory requirement that military services submit unfunded priorities lists to Congress each year, separate wish lists outside the official budgeting process that pull billions in government resources.

“The Pentagon has never passed an audit and for decades has been plagued by waste, fraud, and abuse – yet we continue to throw billions more at them each year,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal. “If the Pentagon needed the items on this wish list, it should be reflected in its budget request. These wish lists are just a tool to further inflate their already bloated budget and strip transparency from the process. Our Streamline Pentagon Budgeting Act is a bipartisan solution to combat this wasteful and inefficient spending.”

“The Department of Defense’s budgeting process must be fiscally responsible and prioritize projects that strengthen our national security,” said Rep. Warren Davidson. “The DOD’s unfunded priorities list leads to bloated and unnecessary defense spending. Our bipartisan legislation increases transparency and streamlines the budget process by removing the DOD’s requirement to submit an unfunded priorities list to Congress.”

“Deterring our adversaries—especially China—requires focusing on the capabilities that will give our warfighters a decisive edge,” said Rep. Seth Moulton. “Unfunded priorities lists distract us from that. The Streamline Pentagon Budgeting Act will not only ensure that we spend taxpayer dollars effectively, but that we prioritize the investments that will actually make our military stronger.”

For Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24), the unfunded priorities list requested by the DoD totaled $16.4 billion on top of $842 billion requested by the Pentagon. These lists often include expensive,  wasteful systems that leaders at the Pentagon and Office of Management and Budget determined did not make the cut for the formal budget request and did not fit into the United States’ national security strategy.  

“The Streamline Pentagon Budgeting Act, introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), is a commonsense measure that will help restore sound budget practices within the Department of Defense (DoD). This bill would repeal statutory unfunded priorities list requirements, reduce wasteful reporting burdens for branches and commands that do not have unfunded priorities in a given year, and make it easier for civilian leadership at DoD to curb the wish list practice within the Pentagon. National Taxpayers Union applauds Rep. Jayapal and Rep. McClintock for their leadership on this issue,” said Nicholas Johns, Senior Manager of Government Affairs and Policy, National Taxpayers Union.

Jayapal and McClintock previously led a bipartisan letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III ahead of the President’s proposed 2023 budget, calling on the DoD to rein in their use of wasteful “unfunded priorities” lists. 

This legislation is endorsed by the Government Accountability Project, Just Foreign Policy, National Taxpayers Union, Project On Government Oversight, Public Citizen, R St Institute, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, and Win Without War.

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