Congress Supports Our Troops But Supports Campaign Donors More

Defense spending has become a sacred cow in the national budget that no one wants to touch.  But what good is defense spending if the troops that it is supposed to be spent on aren’t actually receiving their equipment?

Via Dana Milbank:

According to the annual Gallup poll of confidence in American institutions, the military ranks first, earning high marks from 76 percent of Americans, and Congress ranks dead last, at 11 percent.

To understand that 7 to 1 disparity, look no further than Wednesday’s hearing of the House defense appropriations subcommittee. Defense Secretary Bob Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen proved themselves again to be serious men, speaking frankly about the crises we face. The lawmakers did not.

According to Milbank, while Gates was requesting money to buy equipment for the troops, money that has been put on hold for a month now, the lawmakers were busy fighting over who the shifting of funds would be likely to hurt — meaning which Congressman was likely to lose support from a major financial donor.

Yet Gates couldn’t get the lawmakers to agree to his urgent – and modest – request to shift $1.2 billion in Pentagon funds to protect soldiers’ lives in Afghanistan. He asked for the money a month ago, but Young’s committee hadn’t acted.

Why? Because Young objects to the money being taken away from the Army’s Humvee program. Never mind that the Army has more Humvees than it wants. They are manufactured by AM General – which happens to be Young’s third-largest campaign contributor. Its executives have funneled him more than $80,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Gates told Young in blunt terms that his delay was putting lives at risk, but the gentleman from AM General was unmoved. “We would like to analyze with you in some detail another source of that funding,” he replied, suggesting they talk more about a “helpful way to approach this.”

Helpful to whom, Mr. Chairman? Your country, or your contributors?

D.C. politicians are refusing to consider proposals to reduce troops in our active wars, and refusing to equip those soldiers who are going into battle.  They are once more putting the needs and desires of their donors and the well-being of the financial coffers of their re-election campaigns over real world lives.

That low approval of Congress in comparison to the troops makes a lot of sense in that respect.  Perhaps we can get them to run the country and have the Representatives enter active duty for a bit in their place.

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John E.
John E6 years ago

This is beyond contempt.
Virtually everyone commenting here can see what is going on ... but still it goes on.
America ... it is later than you think.

Susanne R.
Susanne R6 years ago

The article states:

"Gates told Young in blunt terms that his delay was putting lives at risk, but the gentleman from AM General was unmoved. "We would like to analyze with you in some detail another source of that funding," he replied, suggesting they talk more about a "helpful way to approach this."

I have an idea. Have AM General make a nice big campaign contribution to Governor Walker and he can find a way to get even more money from Wisconsin's public sector unions. Problem solved!

My suggestion is probably less ridiculous than what's actually going on. If a member of congress is putting their campaign war chest BEFORE the lives of the soldiers that THEY put in harm's way, they should be ex-congressmen. I hope the voters will see to that in the next election.

William Y.
William Y6 years ago

The troops should come first, the HUMVEE last.

Ron S.
Ron S6 years ago

Young, and others - plan and simple, “Piece of S..." I believe some day Americans will wake up and pay attention long enough and keep their memory long enough to do something about the many "BAD" politicians. Their interest - it is not the people. It is the corporations stupid!! They “buy” our politicians. Let me say that again, it is the corporations stupid!! They “buy” our politicians. It is just a shame that we have it so good and comfortable here in America that we never wake up until it really, really hurts. We are like the patient that ignores the tooth ache for weeks until it's 2:00 AM and we go to the emergency room and cry”It has been hurting for weeks and I just can't stand it any longer” Reagan, the Republicans hero, and his trickle down economic theory from 1980 ish. Thirty years of “trickle Down”. How is that working for you folks in the middle class? Should I say you folks that used to be middle class, it is on it's last leg. The poor are even poorer. Trickle down does not seem to have done anything for them in the last thirty years either. The rich on the other hand - well if you can spare about two minutes of your time I would suggest you glance this over. Maybe it can help you wake up and start screaming and fighting for your fair share !! - - “15 Mind-Blowing Facts About Wealth And Inequality In America”

Janet K.
Janet K6 years ago

Cut military spending and support things that enrich America.

Marie W.
Marie W6 years ago

Defense is a cash cow.

john hall
john hall6 years ago

these are the type of people we need to get out of office but then we would take out everyone including the pres .

Sound Mind
Ronald E6 years ago

Welcome in the 21st Century version of Organized Crime. Instead of the cops on the beat it's our elected officials that are selling the protection to the mobsters.

Mary L.
Mary L6 years ago

Amazing how sensitive they are about their contributors isn't it? Disgusting and should be illegal but hey, what are a few more deaths? They can be used to rail against Obama and Democrats after all.

They are all happy to have someone's toes stepped on as long as it's not their owners toes.

Helen Delahunt-Avila
Helen Avila6 years ago

Ok I am really sick of these lazy jerks and their entitlements. Are we supposed to keep handing out this welfare year after year? They don’t pay taxes; they live like leaches off the rest of us; they complain incessantly about what they sacrifice without merit and complain about being downtrodden, and that they are taken advantage of and misunderstood. We need to contact our state and federal representatives and ask them why they continue to support this drain on our resources. Please be sure to mention those who complain the loudest in your email:
ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Chevron and ConocoPhillips . In addition, big banks, the Koch Brothers, and Corporate Farms including Tobacco are also upset that we do not understand their need to create jobs. Unfortunately, they lay their workers off because they do not make enough money from our subsidies aka welfare to pay them an actual living wage, which those unappreciative blood suckers of society don’t understand.