Saturday, May 29, 2010

Kline or Walz : Who Sides with the Pentagon and Taxpayers ?

Based on the years in the military, one would think that John Kline (R-MN-02) and Tim Walz (D-MN-01) would support the Pentagon requests … but do they ?


And what about protecting the taxpayers from unnecessary government spending ?


Actually, one does support the Pentagon and the taxpayer while one does not.

Actually, it is striking how different they are.
One is very public about professing the evils of wasteful government spending as a political election tool … only to vote (repeatedly) for “earmark” spending requested by members of his political party.
While the other promotes transparency and seeks input from his constituents for how federal dollars should be invested.

Both make monthly appearances on former First District Congressman Tim Penny’s radio program.
Being that Congressman Penny is currently Co-chair of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget Robert, so naturally the discussion focuses on government spending.

Friday it was Tim Walz turn on the air and the subject matter was the previous day’s vote on an amendment offered by Congresswoman Chellie M. Pingree (D-ME-01) to prohibit any further funding for the alternate F-35 engine.
Congresswoman Pingree stated : “ In 2001, Pratt & Whitney won the award for the primary engine for the Joint Strike Fighter through a competitive bidding process. This process was set up to save millions in taxpayer dollars. Since then, Congress has authorized an astonishing $1.3 billion of unrequested funds for the development of this extra unnecessary engine. The Bush administration opposed this program. The Obama administration opposes this program. And yet if this amendment fails today, we will continue to fund a defense program that is a complete waste of money.
I could not put it any better than the Secretary of Defense put it himself: Given the many pressing needs facing our military and the fiscal challenges facing our country, we cannot afford a ``business as usual'' approach to the defense budget. Tough choices must be made by both the Department and Congress to ensure that current and future military capabilities can be sustained over time. This means programs and initiatives of marginal or no benefit, like the F136 engine, are unaffordable luxuries.”

This amendment forces a vote on whether to support an “earmark” or as the Republicans have redefined it as a “ Programmatic Request since for political re-election purposes, the Republicans have announced a moratorium on “earmarks”.

At stake : $485 million dollars in the FY 2011 Department of Defense budget (or to put it in prospective, 53 jets can be built for the cost of the "extra" engine.)

The argument :
On one side is the DOD and the Bush and Obama Administration (The Marines, the Navy, and the Air Force have all said they don't want it) and the performance of the current engine (394 F-35 aircraft test flights planned in the schedule to occur during 2010 have been completed with sufficient results).
On the other side is the “loser” of the original award or as one Congressman said ”let me say how proud I am of the more than 4,000 Hoosier employees of Rolls Royce who worked to develop this engine.”

The result : Congressman Walz voted with the Pentagon’s and taxpayer’s interests while Mr. Kline voted with the special interests. Overall, the Democrats wanted to eliminate this unnecessary expenditure, but because of the strong support from the Republicans, the funding stayed in the bill.

Mr. Kline has a penchant for denouncing domestic spending via the “earmark” process yet fails to acknowledge unnecessary spending authorized through his House Armed Services Committee … be it comic books or seventeen F/A-18 E and F Super Hornet strike fighters, Mr. Kline has proven to be a strong representative for the military industrial complex but not for the taxpayers. On a previous Tim Penny broadcast, Mr. Kline defended his support for Mr. Bishop's (R-UT) "earmark" for F-22 planes as a "good jobs program".

For Minnesotans this is especially hard to see Mr. Kline "waste" our taxdollars. We are struggling ... our communities are delaying replacing police cars, yet Mr. Kline fully supports building unnecessary jets.

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