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House Committee Prevents Diversion of Army Funds

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U.S. Army Reserve
Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The House Armed Services Committee has moved to protect $801 million in Army funds from being diverted for other purposes.

On Feb. 13, the Defense Department asked permission to shift $3.8 billion in unspent fiscal 2020 dollars to be used for other purposes. This would have included $395 million for Army National Guard equipment, $205 million for Army Reserve equipment, and $201 million for Army tactical and support vehicles.

On Feb. 25, the Democratic chairman and Republican ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee notified Pentagon Comptroller Elaine McCusker that the request is denied. “The Congress alone has the constitutional authority to determine how the nation spends its defense dollars,” wrote Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, the committee chairman, and Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas, the ranking minority party member.

“This committee takes seriously the Department’s recommendations and holds many hearings and briefings with Department personnel to determine the best way to meet defense needs with taxpayer funding. When Congress acts, the Department of Defense cannot ignore congressional will in pursuit of their own priorities,” the two lawmakers wrote. “The steps taken in this reprogramming put the Department at risk to lose the flexibility Congress has historically granted to effectively manage the resources provided.”

Reprogramming of funds requires approval of four congressional panels. Action by Smith and Thornberry is enough to block the Pentagon request.