WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 – The Senate set a vote for late tonight on a Department of Defense bill that would authorize $625 billion for the military. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said he will vote “no” and issued the following statement:
“At a time when the United States has a $17.2 trillion national debt and when we spend almost as much on defense as the rest of the world combined, the time is long overdue for us to take a hard look at the waste, cost overruns and financial mismanagement that have plagued the huge Defense Department for years.
“The situation is so absurd that the Pentagon is unable to even account for how it spends its money. Earlier this year, the Government Accountability Office cited its inability to audit the Pentagon. They wrote that they were unable to do a comprehensive financial analysis due to ‘serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense that made its financial statements un-auditable.’
“I support a strong defense system for our country and a robust National Guard and Reserve that can meet our domestic and foreign challenges. At a time, however, when the country has a $17.2 trillion national debt and is struggling with huge unmet needs, it is unacceptable that the Defense Department continues to waste massive amounts of money.”