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McCaskill Succeeds, Earmark-Free National Defense Authorization Passes

Senator helped shape legislation that raises pay for troops, caps pay for government contractors, and continues support for F/A-18 Super Hornet

December 15, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. - For the first time in decades, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed into law is completely earmark-free after U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill waged a successful four year fight against the culture of earmarking.  

McCaskill won passage of an amendment to the NDAA that banned earmarks from the legislation, after an attempt was made by the U.S. House of Representatives to circumvent an existing moratorium on earmarks, and insert nearly one billion dollars in pet projects.  Today's vote comes less than one week after McCaskill released an investigation that found at least 115 earmarks that were secretly inserted by the House Armed Services Committee, and subsequently stripped from the bill.

McCaskill, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, helped shape The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which overwhelmingly passed the U.S. Senate and includes a pay raise for U.S. troops.  In addition to stripping earmarks inserted by the U.S. House, McCaskill specifically fought for and won a cap on compensation for government contractors, a cap on overall contract funding for services at Fiscal Year 2010 levels, and-at the request of the U.S. Department of Defense-continued support for the F/A-18 Super Hornet, which is produced in St. Louis by thousands of Missouri workers. 

McCaskill released the following statements after today's vote: 

"This is a victory.  This shows that change is possible; change is slow, but you can't give up.  It should be clear that I will be vigilant to keep policing this issue aggressively until earmarks, and the culture they represent, are permanently a thing of the past." 

"I'm fighting to make sure folks understand that when we shrink the size of the federal government, we're not saving any money unless we target the huge amounts of dollars going to government contractors.  This cap on the money the Defense Department spends on contractors is an important way to hold down government spending and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars." 

"Our military leaders know what I know-that the F/A-18 is a critical national security asset, and comes in at a fraction of the cost of the F-35.  It also happens to be a huge job-creator, by one of the state's top manufacturers, and it will continue to receive my strong and steadfast support." 

The National Defense Authorization Act includes:

  • No earmarks
  • A 1.6 percent pay raise for members of the U.S. military
  • A cap at FY 2010 spending levels on federal spending for contract services by the Department of Defense
  • A cap on federal compensation for contractors and subcontractors
  • And, at the request of the U.S. Department of Defense:
  • o Authorized funding for the procurement of 28 F/A-18s
  • o $4.8 million for construction of a security control facility at Whiteman Air Force Base
  • o $49 million for the construction of a vehicle maintenance facility at Fort Leonard Wood 

Earlier this year, McCaskill helped convince the Missouri House of Representatives to reverse its resolution supporting the F-35, and instead express support for the Missouri-based F/A-18.  The F-35 program has become the leading example of a bloated defense procurement that is substantially delayed and over cost.  The F/A-18 program is considered a model program that delivers world class fighter jets on-time and at a fraction of the cost of the F-35.

McCaskill, an outspoken advocate for cutting government spending, has also never requested or accepted a Congressional earmark and recently introduced bipartisan legislation to permanently ban them from the legislative process.

 

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