By SUZANNE DERSHOWITZ
This week marks a pivotal moment in the campaign to open the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and shine a light on the defense budget.
The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) deliberated on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2013 last week. This massive defense spending bill gets marked up in the open on the House side. The Committee posts the bill online in advance, and the debate and voting process are open to the public via live webcast.
Here’s the problem: the Senate debate on how to spend hundreds of billions of our taxpayer dollars takes place completely in the dark. The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) marks up the NDAA behind closed doors, holding the draft bill close and keeping amendments to the bill secret. This bolsters special interests’ access to the halls of government while shutting the public out of the debate.
On May 10, we hand-delivered letters demanding transparency in the defense budget process to all Members of SASC. Now with the support of 45 organizations from across the ideological spectrum and nearly 5,000 concerned citizens signing on, the letters sent an even stronger message than they did nearly when we first delivered the letters and launched the campaign.
Next week, SASC will vote on whether or not to keep the NDAA markup closed. If you believe in smart spending on defense, government transparency, and a real democratic process—take action by calling your Senator today to shine a light on the defense budget. This is our window of opportunity.
Suzanne Dershowitz is POGO's public policy fellow.
Photo by POGO's Joe Newman.