Pentagon leaders faced “heavy opposition” from the U.S. House Armed Services Committee today to a request from the Obama administration for a counterterrorism fund.
Some members from both parties raised concerns that the proposed $5 billion account “amounts to little more than a slush fund for the Defense Department,” according to Roll Call.
“The $5 billion for the broadly defined counterterrorism account is just a small part of the administration’s $60 billion request for overseas contingency operations,” the article explains. “But lawmakers said they feared it would allow the military to avoid congressional oversight, spending the money on anything that is even tangentially related to combating terrorists around the world.”
Hawaii’s Tulsi Gabbard was one of those House representatives expressing concern about the fund.
Gabbard, according to a press release from her office, spoke in response to testimony by Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work, who said that the president needed flexibility even though it is not clear yet what action he might take.
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard confers with campaign staff after speaking at the Democratic Party of Hawaii convention.
PF Bentley/Civil Beat
Gabbard responded to Work as follows:
It is your and the administration’s position that it is agreed that we must do something but we’re not sure what. I think that assumption is what is troubling.
It should not be a given as we look at the different conflicts that are occurring, whether it be in Iraq or in other places, that we assume that we must do “something.” Sometimes the answer to that question is what is in the best interests of the United States and the American people. The answer may be to not take action in that particular situation.
That assumption that we must do something, particularly in Iraq, is where many [members of Congress] are concerned about writing this kind of blank check to fund that “something” if that “something” is not the right course of action to take.
In a report in Defense News, meanwhile, Gabbard was said to have raised concerns that some of the requested counterterrorism funds might go toward new initiatives that would be “duplicative” with existing programs.
Gabbard, an Iraq war veteran, has asked for the Obama administration to define the nation’s objectives before committing troops to the Iraq-Syria region.
REPORTING ON HAWAII’S BIGGEST ISSUES
A good reason not to give
We know not everyone can afford to pay for news right now, which is why we keep our journalism free for everyone to read, listen, watch and share.
But that promise wouldn’t be possible without support from loyal readers like you.
Make a gift to Civil Beat today and help keep our journalism free for all readers. And if you’re able, consider a sustaining monthly gift to support our work all year-round.