Senator Wants Defense Contractors' Salaries Kept Below Obama's

Arguing that defense costs are spiraling out of control due to overreliance on contractors, a Montana senator is proposing diverting billions away from contracts he says can be done just as well by men and women in uniform.


Sen. John Walsh’s (D-Mont.) Cutting Contractor Use and Taxpayer Savings or CUTS Act would also prohibit a defense contractor from earning more than the president of the United States. The commander in chief earns $400,000 a year.

More than $2 trillion has been spent on defense and intelligence service contractors since 2002, a number Walsh wants to see return to pre-Iraq war levels. In 2013, the Pentagon spent nearly $180 billion on service contractors.

“We owe it to our children and grandchildren to leave them a balanced budget, so before we look at closing military bases in the United States, we must look at the explosion of service contractors overseas,” Walsh said. “After spending my career as a soldier, I know firsthand that we can save taxpayers billions of dollars while improving our national security by curbing our excessive reliance on service contractors who do the same jobs as our service members, but never swear an oath to this nation, and often cost taxpayers double.”

A former brigadier general in the Army, Walsh was appointed to Sen. Max Baucus’ (D-Mont.) seat in February after Baucus became U.S. ambassador to China. Walsh has to run for his seat in the fall.


His bill would require the DOD Inspector General to “complete an analysis of service contractors globally with an emphasis on identifying redundancies and distinguishing areas of growth since 2002” and make the report public.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence would also have to report to Congress annually on the use of contractors across its 17 sectors.

The legislation would “enforce spending limits by withholding funding for defense service contractors if a one-third reduction isn’t met within three years of enactment.”

It’s sure to meet bitter opposition from defense lobbyists, especially as contractors already took a hit from budget sequestration.


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