Washington, D.C.--Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) joined Peace and Security Task Force Chair Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) to respond to recent revelations of staggering waste within the Pentagon.


A Reuters reportreleased this week documents shocking levels of waste within the Pentagon. The report uncovered, among other things, billions in excess inventory at the Defense Logistics Agency, orders totaling $733 million for supplies and equipment that the Pentagon already had in its warehouses, and questionable book-keeping practices that make the Pentagon essentially un-auditable. 


“The billions of dollars the Pentagon can’t find could have been used to create jobs for Americans who are still looking for work after the Great Recession,” Rep. Ellison said. “The report released by Reuters describes a culture that encourages overspending and sloppy bookkeeping, all while budget cuts make it harder for working families to put food on the table. Protecting our nation is an important priority of the Pentagon, but it can be achieved efficiently, without wasting billions of dollars.”


“When Congress decides what spending to approve each year, the military gets half of every dollar, and now we see the result,” Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva said. “Think of what we could have accomplished for working families, students, nurses, teachers, firefighters and every other American if we’d invested this money wisely instead of throwing it at the Pentagon and closing our eyes to the consequences. For everyone who says we need to get our fiscal house in order, I say this is the place to start.”


Rep. Barbara Lee said, “The findings in this report are deplorable.  The accounts confirm what many of us have known for too long— that waste, fraud, and abuse run rampant at the Pentagon.


“At a time when Congress is struggling to negotiate a budget, when Republicans are putting Meals on Wheels, Head Start and SNAP on the chopping block, we see clear evidence of gross financial mismanagement at the Pentagon.


“The American people need to know where their tax dollars are going; we must audit the Pentagon to ensure that this kind of fraudulent accounting does not continue and do away with this culture of unlimited spending, zero accountability, and lack of oversight. This underscores the urgent need to pass my legislation, H.R. 559, which calls for a full audit of the Pentagon.”


The CPC has long supported scaling back defense spending to meet the United States’ modern security needs, while redirecting excess funds to domestic priorities such as education, jobs, and infrastructure. The CPC’s roadmap to a sustainable fiscal future, the Back to Work Budget, specifically calls for targeted defense cuts. At a time when working families are still struggling to get back on their feet and federal budgets are being slashed, the United States cannot continue to subsidize the Pentagon’s waste.