WASHINGTON, May 10 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today announced that the Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday, May 12 at 11 a.m., on “Waste, Fraud, Cost Overruns, and Auditing at the Pentagon.”
Over the past 20 years, the military industrial complex has spent over $2.6 billion in lobbying and campaign contributions to influence Congress. Currently, the U.S. spends more on our nation’s military than the next nine countries combined and over half of our discretionary spending goes to the Pentagon. Meanwhile, half of our people are struggling paycheck to paycheck, over 40 million Americans are living in poverty, and over 500,000 Americans are homeless including roughly 40,000 veterans.
Congress has appropriated so much money for the Defense Department that the Pentagon does not know what to do with it. About half of the Pentagon’s budget goes directly into the hands of private contractors, not our troops. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), between 2013 and 2018 the Pentagon returned more than $80 billion in funding back to the Treasury.
A major reason why there is so much waste, fraud, and abuse at the Pentagon is the fact that the Defense Department remains the only federal agency in the United States that hasn’t been able to pass an independent audit. And, over the past two decades, virtually every major defense contractor in the United States has paid billions of dollars in fines and settlements for misconduct and fraud – all while making huge profits on those government contracts.
Sanders, who has for years pressed the Pentagon to get control of waste, fraud, and abuse by military contractors, has invited Dr. Lawrence Korb, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress; William Hartung, Director of the Arms and Security Program at the Center for International Oversight; and Mandy Smithberger, Director of the Center for Defense Information at the Project on Government Oversight to testify. Also testifying will be Roger Zackheim, Director of the Ronald Reagan Institute and LTG (Ret) Thomas Spoehr, Director of the Center for National Defense at The Heritage Foundation.
What: Hearing of the Committee on the Budget to consider “Waste, Fraud, Cost Overruns, and Auditing at the Pentagon.”
When: Wednesday, May 12, 2021, 11:00 a.m. ET
Where: Room SD-608. The hearing will also be livestreamed on the Budget Committee’s website and Sanders’ social media pages.
Who: Dr. Lawrence Korb, Mr. William Hartung, Ms. Mandy Smithberger, Mr. Roger Zackheim, and LTG (Ret) Thomas Spoehr.