The Next Defense Budget Should Exclude Companies that Violate US Law

Last month Congress passed a continuing resolution ensuring the federal government stays funded into December thus pushing major budget decisions until after the highly competitive midterm elections. Some tough decisions will be made during this lame-duck session as to what programs receive funding heading into 2023. As our nation’s debt continues to skyrocket, the federal government must find a way to cut the massive budget deficit with which taxpayers are being burdened.

A straightforward way to cut this deficit and conserve taxpayer dollars is to exclude companies and projects from government funding that have violated United States’ law. Not only does this promote good governance and save precious taxpayer funds, it also sends a message to corporations that they must obey the law in order to win government contracts. When Congress convenes in December, it would be wise of them to show some competence in next year’s budget decisions by preventing money from flowing to defense projects that have run afoul of the law. As it is illegal to use specialty metals or alloys from China, North Korea, Russia, and Iran, companies procuring parts and metals for aircraft and other U.S. military infrastructure from those countries are in violation of federal law and thus should not be awarded government contracts. 

In the next few years, as the federal government most likely piles even more debt on the American people, taxpayers are going to want to see evidence that oversight on spending is comprehensive. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts a deficit of about $1 trillion for this year and another trillion in the next with an overall deficit for the next decade (2023-2032) of roughly $16 trillion – a staggering sum of money that our country does not have. This outrageous deficient is evidence that some in government have not been careful in spending hard earned taxpayer dollars. 
While it is important to spend taxpayers’ money in a wise way, it is also paramount to fund core functions of government such as national defense – an area in need of expanded resources to protect Americans against emerging threats from an increasingly aggressive China and Russia. Recently, missile defense funding has been back in focus while China has been acting aggressively towards Taiwan, causing many to worry that an invasion is imminent. A larger defense budget resulting in a stronger military infrastructure would help deter both Russia and China from taking actions that would spur an American response.
As the risk to our national security grows, Congress has rightly pushed for an increase in defense spending. The House Appropriations Committee proposed “$761.681 billion in discretionary spending, an increase of $33.207 billion above 2022. It is in line with President Biden’s budget request, a funding level endorsed by the Secretary of Defense.” With the amount spent on national defense growing, Americans are going to want Congress to be more diligent in spending precious tax dollars to minimize the federal deficit as much as possible. 
One project federally elected officials need to cut is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program (JSFP). JSFP was recently found to have broken the previously mentioned U.S. law on sourcing materials from specific countries. Politico reported on Sept 7, “The Pentagon has temporarily halted delivery of F-35 fighter jets to the military branches and international customers after Lockheed Martin discovered a metal component used in the jet’s engine had come from China, according to the Pentagon.” With our country carrying an ever-increasing amount of debt and the competency of our leaders being called into question, it is a logical choice for the Pentagon to target the F-35 program. 
As inflation cripples our economy and the federal government is spending record amounts of money, having confidence in our elected officials to wisely spend tax dollars is extremely important. Ceasing the F-35 JSFP would help guarantee that tax dollars are not being wasted on aircraft containing illegal materials from China and other prohibited countries. Putting the brakes on a program that breaks U.S. law would reassure taxpayers that the federal government is being very careful when spending their dollars during a time when Americans are struggling to make ends meet.

Mary Catherine McElhone is a conservative grassroots activist and chair of the Missouri Federation of Young Republicans. When not out on the campaign trail, you can find Mary Catherine playing fetch with her golden retriever, volunteering with the Junior League of St. Louis, or searching for the perfect martini.


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