WASHINGTON – Last spring, DFL U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum made headlines with an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to bar the military from sponsoring NASCAR racing teams. She’s at it again but this time has support from across the aisle.
On Thursday, McCollum and Georgia Republican Jack Kingston successfully attached an amendment to a Defense Department spending bill that bans the Pentagon from sponsoring “professional or semi-professional motorsports, fishing, mixed martial arts, wrestling, or other sporting events or competitors.”
According to McCollum, the Pentagon will spend $80 million this year on such sponsorships, and taxpayer support for racer Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s racing team over the past five years totals $136 million.
“At a time when Congress is increasing defense spending by cutting ‘Meals on Wheels’ for vulnerable seniors and nutrition programs for hungry children, it’s time to eliminate wasteful Pentagon spending on NASCAR, fishing and ultimate fighting sponsorships that have nothing to do with our national security,” McCollum said in a statement.
In the past, the military has said such sponsorships are a valuable recruiting tool.
In addition to this amendment, McCollum also has an amendment to another Defense Department bill under debate in the House that would limit spending on military bands to $200 million annually.