Our own Gordon Adams notes the dangerous precedent Senate appropriators have taken in moving some funding from the base budget to OCO funding.
Adams finds that while Senate Defense appropriators have made good first steps in returning discipline to the defense budget in their FY 2012 bill, they have slipped some base budget costs into war funding. Two key events confirm this claim:
- The Senate committee found $6.6 billion in war spending that was not needed, and was stripped from Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)
- At the same time, appropriators provided the full $117.8 billion requested by the administration for OCO
This must mean that some non-war funding from the base budget was moved to the OCO account.
In addressing this transfer and others like it, Adams warns “…it is a dangerous budgetary practice and a relaxation of the otherwise splendid budget discipline the committee began. We should not go down that slippery slope.”
But, as we highlighted last month, as long as war funding exists, the temptation to take advantage of OCO funding will also remain.