Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 23, 2014

Dennis Ross’ Goal

Dennis Ross’ Goal

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

No soccer fields for terrorists! In March, Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) began circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter to call attention to bad spending habits, this time in Cuba. It seems that detainees at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility are exercising outside.

“Today we are more than $15 trillion dollars in debt,” Ross says in the letter. “Yet, the Department of Defense has spent an estimated $750,000 on the construction of a brand new soccer field, exercise equipment, and a pathway to the beach.”

To be fair to the Pentagon, Ross spokesman Fred Piccolo tells HOH that the actual price tag was just south of the $750,000 mark. At the $750,000 mark, Congress can exercise oversight over appropriated funds.

Ross and his staff drafted the None of Our Funds in the Interest or for the Exercise or Leisure of Detainees Act, or the NO FIELD Act. The bill, an example of true acronym genius straight from the brain of legislative aide Omar Raschid, would reduce the DOD’s “discretionary spending limit for the security category by $750,000 next fiscal year.”

According to a CQ Roll Call employee armed with a calculator, it would pay off 5×10 to the negative 8th power of the debt.

“It’s not an essential expenditure. We have to prioritize,” Piccolo tells HOH.

Four lawmakers jumped on the NO FIELD bandwagon: Republican Reps. Sandy Adams (Fla.), Virginia Foxx (N.C.), Tom Latham (Iowa) and Reid Ribble (Wis.).

Piccolo says they have been a bit disappointed in the reaction of some lawmakers who explain that they “can’t co-sponsor something that cuts defense.”

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