U.S. Rep. Allen West on Wasteful Defense Spending

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) introduced three bills on Tuesday that would reduce the Defense Department’s printing and copying budget by 10 percent (H.R. 1246) and cut funding for studies, analyses and evaluations by another 10 percent (H.R. 1247).

The third bill would restrict annual nationwide adjustments and locality pay for poorly performing DOD employees (H.R. 1248).

As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, West wants to help Defense Secretary Robert Gates reduce the cost of writing reports and printing documents.

“The Federal Government has a spending problem,” West said. “While the Democrats continue to propose to add trillions of dollars in new spending and new taxes, I am keeping my promise to my constituents to responsibly cut government spending in order to get the American Fiscal House back in order.

As I have stated, all government programs must be thoroughly scrutinized, including the Department of Defense. After serving 22 years in the United States Army, I am aware of areas where saving money is very possible. These cuts are aimed at wasteful Defense Department spending and will not affect the overall mission of our men and women in uniform in protecting our national security.”

West projects that the printing cuts would save $35.7 million in fiscal 2012 and $180 million through fiscal 2016. By reducing money for studies, the DOD would save $24 million in the next fiscal year and $120 million through 2016.

West also said his bill restricting pay for workers who perform poorly would save $21 million while improving work. As employees do a better job, the savings would be $80 million through fiscal 2016.

Defense Secretary Gates has proposed a number of ways to save DOD money. In September, he released a 23-point memorandum for reforming defense acquisition processes and sought to cut the number of internal and congressional reports in half. The number of congressional reports has grown from 514 to 719 in the past decade while internal DOD reports increased from 102 to 156.

“None of these reports are free,” and they take the acquisition workforce away from its main jobs, he wrote in the memo. Gates estimated that the 719 congressional reports — which, he also wrote, often outlive their usefulness — cost $350 million annually.

None of West’s bills would require reports from the Department of Defense.

The three bills are on the YouCut website (http://www.majorityleader.gov/YouCut) hosted by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).  American citizens have from today through April 5th to place their vote online for the piece of legislation they would like to see enacted.

After the votes are tallied, Congressman West will offer the piece of legislation which received the most support from the American people on the floor of the House of Representatives for an up-or-down vote.

“I can’t think of a better way to allow the American people to have a voice about the kind of cuts that are important to them than by allowing them to vote directly via the YouCut project,” West said. “I encourage all constituents of the 22nd Congressional District of Florida and all Americans to vote this week and be a part of democracy at its best.”

Rico Petrocelli is a former Plantation Councilman and current Executive Director of the Republican Party of Broward County, Florida.