February 1, 2011  

Fiscal failure

TO CONGRESS for its failure to pass the fiscal 2011 DoD spending bill. Almost half of the way through fiscal 2011, the Pentagon is still operating under continual resolutions. Forcing federal agencies to operate on stop-gap funding measures leads to gross mismanagement, rising costs and a waste of tax dollars. As an example, the 2011 blockage has left the Air Force’s new tanker program billions of dollars short, while billions too much are available for Humvees that the Army doesn’t want. Last year, Congress failed to pass even a single appropriations bill. The result has been mayhem with sound financial planning rendered impossible. A bipartisan group of senators, led by Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., has introduced a bill to bring some sanity and common sense to the process. It would move Congress to a biennial budgeting cycle. This would create a more stable, predictable budget that would lead to more efficient spending and contracting decisions. There is a model for this: The Veterans Affairs Department operates — well — on a biennial budget. Yes, the Pentagon still has to demonstrate it is serious about its finances. But fiscal responsibility is wasted if Congress doesn’t get its house in order.