WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), CPC First Vice Chair Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), and CPC Peace and Security Taskforce Chairwoman Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) made the following statements today after The Washington Post published an article this morning, revealing the Pentagon hid evidence from an internal study that exposed $125 billion in “administrative waste.”

“At a time when we hear from defense hawks that more money is needed to build up our military – that we are woefully degraded as a military power – it is ironic that the Pentagon was hiding $125 billion in waste and misuse,” Rep. Grijalva said. “That money could go directly to our men and women in uniform, or be used to shore up the Veterans Administration, or provide a proper living situation and support for military families. The top brass must answer for this, and no discussions of funding increases should occur until we have full accountability and a commitment from the military that their top spending priorities going forward are our service members and veterans.”

“This irresponsible Pentagon spending is unacceptable,” Rep. Ellison said. “The $125 billion that was wasted in the Pentagon over the past five years could have repaired crumbling bridges, sent kids to college, and helped families afford decent housing. This investigation makes it clear we need to prioritize defense spending that serves our troops and our country more efficiently.”

“The blatant attempt to deceive taxpayers and hide $125 billion of waste is indicative of a serious lack of accountability and clearly demonstrates the need for increased transparency at the Pentagon,” Rep. Pocan said. “While Republicans point to reductions in civil service positions that support our troops at home and abroad as a solution, federal contractors working the same jobs are making twice as much. Instead of cutting the jobs of hard-working men and women of the civil service, the Pentagon should focus on eliminating these costly and less accountable contractors. This could save tens of billions of taxpayer dollars that could be reinvested in our service members and veterans. I am proud to join my colleagues in calling for real change in how we reduce and prioritize our defense spending.”

“It’s outrageous that Pentagon officials have intentionally deceived Congress and the American people to hide at least $125 billion in waste at the agency,” Rep. Lee said. “The Pentagon does not have a license to defraud working families. Congress must act to end the culture of unchecked spending at the Pentagon and bring long overdue transparency to our defense budget. My legislation, the Audit the Pentagon Act, would help address this rampant waste, fraud, and abuse.”

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus, with over 70 members standing up for progressive ideals in Washington and throughout the country. Since 1991, the CPC has advocated for progressive policies that prioritize working Americans over corporate interests, fight economic and social inequality, and promote civil liberties. The CPC champions progressive policy solutions like comprehensive immigration reform, a $15 national minimum wage, fair trade, gun violence reform, debt-free college, and making the federal government a Model Employer.