Senator McCaskill says hundreds of millions of dollars are better spent on roads and bridges in this country instead of on big projects in Afghanistan. She says the projects in Afghanistan aren’t doing any good.
McCaskill is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who has regularly criticized military contracting programs in Iraq and in Afghanistan. She wants to cut as much as 700-milion dollars out of the Commander’s Emergency Response Program and put it into the federal highway trust fund.
McCaskill says the money is in a program that was intended for finance small projects designed to win the hearts and minds of people. But she says it’s become a runaway program. She says hundreds of millions of dollars are being used for projects built in unsecure environments and cannot be sustained. .
McCaskill says teams of inspectors have reported many major projects cannot be protected from insurgent attacks and are not improving services to people or loyalty to a government. She says the defense department inspector general has reported as much as 38-milion dollars in the program is vulnerable to abuse, fraud, or waste.
The Pentagon calls the program “critical” to fighting insurgency.
McCaskill introduced her proposal during debate on the new defense appropriations authorization bill but the Senate did not vote on it before approving the bill. McCaskill still has other avenues to remove the money from the budget.