The Senator John McCain that so many of us admired before his deeply uninspiring presidential campaign in 2008 is back, this time waging war on unauthorized and inefficient government spending on defense projects. The Vietnam war hero is specifically targeting the Senate Appropriations Committee, or, as he put it, “a handful of senior appropriators and their unelected staffs [who] dictate the spending of hundreds of billions of dollars — often in a manner that directly contravenes the will of those committees that still authorize spending.” The Washington Post has the story:
There has always been tension in the archaic, two-step way Congress approves money for executive departments. House and Senate authorizing committees approve programs and set budget levels, and then the “powerful” House and Senate appropriations committees approve the actual figures, sometimes lower than that authorized.In recent years, however, with Congress unable to pass authorizing bills on time and the advent of “omnibus” spending bills, appropriators have taken to moving funds around, including adding money for projects not specifically authorized.
The US needs leaders like McCain who will fight for efficient and effective defense. The defense budget is a notorious source of congressional pork, and over and over again Congress insists on wasteful expenditures that the Pentagon itself doesn’t want. To borrow a phrase from the not-exactly-golden-tongued Governor Perry, this kind of behavior is “almost treasonous” — and Via Meadia feels stronger about the ‘treasonous’ part of that comment than about the ‘almost’.Too many crusaders against defense budgets just want to shift the pork to domestic programs and don’t fully get the need for a strong national defense in a turbulent world. And too many lobbyists and domestic interests wrap selfish and short-sighted agendas in the mantle of national defense. People like Senator McCain, with an unquestioned grasp of the importance of a strong defense but who also understand the need for lean and effective government, have a vital role to play.Full speed ahead, Senator McCain, and Via Meadia hopes patriots of both parties will work with you to give this country all the defense we need while curtailing the billions of dollars in wasteful “defense” spending that makes us weaker, not safer.