By now you’ve surely heard of the much-ballyhooed passage of HR 933. It’s the legislation that, with the cooperation of the Senate, will supposedly prevent a government shutdown of federal agencies come March 27th delaying that possibility until the end of the fiscal year on September 30th. The bill also somewhat lessens the pain of immediate cuts of $85 billion.
I read the bill, 269 pages of skillful deception. Make no mistake, the primary purpose of this bill is to perpetuate the bloat of the defense budget and decimate domestic programs. It doesn’t get to the non-defense sections until page 224 with the exception of a few lines forbidding federal ACORN funding.
Here are some of the multi-billion dollar defense particulars that caught my eye. HR 933 provides over $50 billion in R & D. A total of $33 billion is set aside for Department of Defense Health Care. There’s also about $300,000,000 for Israel, mostly for missile defense and $120 million for a purpose that I’ll explain in subsequent submissions. It’s an ongoing potentially explosive psychological confrontation you’ve not heard much about.
Funding for active and retired Army personnel hits the $42 billion mark. For the Navy, $27 billion; the Marines get $12 ½ billion; The Air Force, $28 billion. Gadzooks! We’re already at $192 billion. There are the respective reserve memberships and National Guard funding adding enough to get us to $200 billion. Then there’s something called “Operation and Maintenance” for all the branches. I guess none of the 200 bill in original appropriations could possibly address such contingencies. Ca-Ching! Your abacus should have spit out another $40 billion.
I followed these calculations to what were undoubtedly the most interesting and mind-boggling lines of the entire legislation. There’s some huge hidden money squirreled away in the defense budget. It’s stuffed deep into the ledger crevices that go by the nom de guerre of Confidential Military Purposes (whatever those are). For the Army Secretary, there’s a generous $35,409,260,000 of taxpayer money in that clandestine pot.
I know what you’re thinking, but there are distinctly separate intelligence, global terrorism and “pay off the snitches in Afghanistan and buy off the Taliban leaders” line items. Just what are “Confidential Military Purposes” (CMP) that carry that kind of a price tag? Are we in a Bond movie here?
The Navy’s CMP line is home to $41,614,453,000 of your dollars. And it ain’t over yet. The Air Force Secretary has $34,780,406,000 at his disposal. That’s a total of almost $112 billion most taxpayers haven’t heard about. I doubt even most House members have a clue. The question is, are these yearly additions to the CMP totals or just replacement amounts for a total that remains within narrow parameters? A scrambling of
CMP money alone could easily make up for the estimated 47 billion sequester loss in FY 2013.
But on with the Jody calls. Here’s another interesting cache that begs for abuse. There’s money for expenses not “otherwise provided for, but necessary for the operation and maintenance” of the different branches of the Armed Forces. Bear in mind that the operations and maintenance payouts covered what wasn’t included in the basic funding for each branch. So we’re stacking one funding source on top of the other. There’s a name for that; P…O…N…For example, the Marines pick up an extra $6 billion for God knows what up to the end of the fiscal year, September 30th. The Navy plumped up their bottom line by $3.5 billion; the Air Force, $3.2 billion. Some funding extends beyond the current fiscal year, but is still included in the bill.
The procurement budget is a Chinese water torture drip of a billion here, 17 billion there, adding up to a hefty $63 billion. Frankly in studying 933 in its totality, there doesn’t seem to be a smidgeon of sacrifice on the defense side and that $112 billion still has my head spinning.
Let’s just say domestically, the Obama administration is forced to operate at 2012 levels while Defense luxuriates at 2013 levels. In twisting real events, 933 suggests that if sequestration is “ordered” by the president, the departments and agencies to which this section applies are the following: 933 then goes on to lists 31 departments and agencies. In other words, just about all that exist in Washington DC. That’s deep cuts in consumer access and services while the Defense/Corporate crowd escapes virtually unscathed.
Apparently seeking bi-partisan counsel, the President dined with a dozen Senate Republicans Wednesday night at the pricey Plume restaurant in the Jefferson Hotel (the menu matches the reported dinner orders). South Carolina’s Lindsay Graham, trying to read his state’s Tea Party leaves might think it’s a good play to attract Independents. New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte was there. Palin and Santorum helped the former state Attorney General’s Senate campaign. She’s has nothing politically in common with the president.
Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey was in the chow line. He was once President of the notoriously right-wing extremist Club for Growth. Seat-filler, John the bomb McCain was there. He’s everywhere these days. Who cares? Saxby Chambliss stuffed his face on the taxpayer dime as well. Chambliss. In 2002. Chambliss repeatedly questioned the patriotism of opponent Max Cleland who left three of four limbs in Nam. Mike Johanns attended. He was a big supporter of a fundamentalist “March for Jesus” day while Nebraska Governor. Fortunately both he and Chambliss have announced they’re not running again.
Tom Coburn, Oklahoma’s homophobic, anti-RU 486, war on women, guns in national parks, climate change denier, Baptist Deacon esthetic is balanced by occasional shots at Fox News and an unlikely friendship with the President. He’s also the only Senate doctor, which may have accounted for the invite. North Dakota’s Hoeven is an NRA puppet, Indiana’s Dan Coats was a lobbyist between terms. Nuff said. North Carolina’s Richard Burr is another homophobic gun and pollution whore who voted no to expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Ron Johnson is a Wisconsin Tea Party radical. Probably wore ear plugs to the fete.
Bob Corker is a Tennessee right-winger and one of the sponsors of “The Commitment to American Prosperity Act” (CAP) that calls for a ten-year binding cap on all federal spending to such a radical degree that on close read would pretty much financially bomb the fed services back to the financial stone age. Interestingly, 7 or 12 Obama guests were co-sponsors of CAP. The only other place you’d see these 12 together would be the upcoming CPAC.
Cooperation from this bunch? ROTFLMAO! Get the veto pen ready my friend.