President Donald J. Trump and House conservatives have worked for more than nine months to drain the swamp in our nation’s capital.
Why stop at Washington when Congress can work together with the president to bring an end to crony capitalism, even in outer space?
SpaceX, Elon Musk’s rocket launch company, seems to be vying for more control over taxpayer-funded rocket launch services, which is interesting since the company broke a government-created monopoly just years before. Per the Parabolic Arc, Section 1615 of this year’s National Defense Authorization Agreement – a provision regarding launch systems – would limit the U.S. Air Force to new rocket engines and modifications to existing launch vehicles.
By default, the Falcon 9 will be chosen when possible, while the costly Delta IV will receive the National Security Space missions that SpaceX is incapable of meeting.
What does this mean for you, the U.S. taxpayer? It seems like lower quality security at higher costs, all to please just one or two companies.
The White House “strongly objects” to Section 1615. The administration says that by “ignoring key recommendations of the committee’s independent panel of experts,” this provision “would restrict development of new space launch systems, including those whose development is significantly funded by industry,” which will “increase taxpayer costs by several billions of dollars through FY 2027” and cause “delays in transitioning from Russian engines.”
Here’s the great news: it is not just the White House that objects to this crony capitalist bill.
Twenty House members sent a letter to Defense Secretary James N. Mattis earlier this year asking the Department of Defense to maintain the current Air Force plan for the development of new launch vehicles and launch vehicle systems. The group asserted that “investing in the entire launch system through government and industry cost-share partnerships — rather than a specific component — is the fastest, safest, and most affordable way for the taxpayer to achieve” dependence from Russia.
Even the Air Force is opposed to this bill.
The Department of the Air Force sent a letter to the House Armed Services Committee stating, “Section 1615 appears to force the Department to end the more than $300M investment in the industry-developed systems and instead use a modernized Delta IV launch vehicle and or the Falcon 9. United Launch Alliance has publicly stated they are phasing out the Delta IV line and that the launch vehicle is at least 30 percent more costly than other launch vehicles. Forcing ULA to maintain the Delta IV product line would make the company less competitive and fully dependent upon the government for funding.”
Next week, the House Armed Services Committee is expected to fine-tune the NDAA, including any potential changes to Section 1615.
The good news is that Oct. 12, House leaders appointed Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), who appears to be strongly opposed to restricting the development of new launch systems, as well as representatives Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Michael H. Coffman (R-Colo.), who have called out policymaking that may have advanced SpaceX’s special interests in the past.
The Armed Services Conference Committee is moving rapidly.
Tuesday, The Hill reported “the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees expressed confidence Wednesday that they will soon finish work on the annual defense policy bill, with Sen. John S. McCain III (R-Ariz.) going so far as to say it may be done in ‘days.’”
If we’re going to stop this crony capitalist takeover of our space missions, the time to act is now.
House conservatives, our president, and even the military are opposed to SpaceX’s taxpayer-funded takeover of the entire rocket launch industry, it is a no-brainer that the American people should too. We need healthy competition to produce better results for our country, and crony capitalism like this threatens to destroy those results.
Any principled member of Congress that believes in free markets and better results for our country would be wise to vote no on this bill.
Congress Uses Fake Russia-Taliban Report as Excuse to Keep U.S. Troops in Afghanistan
Another victory for the war party.
Democrats are seizing upon a fake news report alleging that Russia has funded Taliban mercenaries to kill U.S. soldiers in order to make it more difficult for troops to be pulled from Afghanistan, thus undermining President Trump’s foreign policy agenda.
The House Armed Services Committee voted on Wednesday to make it more difficult for Trump to pull troops out of Afghanistan. It would force several certifications to be met before Trump could bring troops home. Republicans in the committee joined the Democrats to undermine Trump with the approval of this National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) amendment.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the neoconservative who supports Bush-era globalism, said the measure “lays out, in a very responsible level of specificity, what is going to be required if we are going to in fact make decisions about troop levels based on conditions on the ground and based on what’s required for our own security, not based on political timelines.” It was approved by a 45-11 vote.
The amendment requires an assessment to determine whether or not “state actors have provided any incentives to the Taliban, their affiliates, or other foreign terrorist organizations for attacks against United States, coalition, or Afghan security forces or civilians in Afghanistan in the last two years, including the details of any attacks believed to have been connected with such incentives” before troops can be removed from the country.
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) bragged about how the measure will make sure the U.S. does not leave the region and more American lives are put in jeopardy for a war effort that is largely recognized to be a lost cause.
“There’s been bipartisan criticism of what a weak deal [Trump] got with the Taliban, a deal that is already falling apart,” Moulton said. “Now we learned that he was making this deal at the same time as there were bounties on the heads of American troops, American sons and daughters. We clearly need more oversight over what the president is doing in Afghanistan.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who is the most eloquent voice for an “America First” foreign policy in the House, opposed the measure because of its obvious implications against peace.
“A great nation does not force the next generation to fight their wars, and that’s what we’ve done in Afghanistan,” Gaetz said. “I think the best day to have not had the war in Afghanistan was when we started it, and the next best day is tomorrow.
“I don’t think there’s ever a bad day to end the war in Afghanistan,” he added. “Our generation is weary of this and tired of this.”
The defense industry is pushing the Russia bogeyman yet again, in order to create xenophobic outrage and a pretense to keep troops occupying in the region. The Pentagon has reported that Russia is trying to expedite the removal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, but they are painting this news as if it is a bad thing.
“As of February, the Russian government was working with the central government, regional countries, and the Taliban to gain increased influence in Afghanistan, expedite a U.S. military withdrawal, and address security challenges that might arise from a withdrawal,” a report from the Pentagon said.
“Russia has politically supported the Taliban to cultivate influence with the group, limit the Western military presence, and encourage counter ISIS operations, although Russia publicly denies their involvement,” they added.
The political establishment, including the military-industrial complex, is pulling out all the stops to sabotage President Trump and deprive him of achieving his goals before November’s election.
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