WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives approved an amendment from Minnesota Democrat Betty McCollum on Thursday that cuts $120 million from the Department of Defense’s budget for military bands, which currently stands at $320 million. That funding had been cut when the bill was in committee, but restored by a voice vote on the House floor yesterday.
McCollum took on the military’s music spending in May after The Hill newspaper analyzed its cost.
In a speech on the House floor yesterday, McCollum said cuts to parental assistance programs, education and health care led her to look for areas where there could be other budgetary savings. Military band spending stuck out.
“I think its time we ask the Pentagon to make a small sacrifice in its military budget,” she said.
The cut was opposed by Texas Republican John Carter, who said military bands play an important patriotic duty by performing at military funerals or welcome home celebrations.
There are currently 32 active duty bands in the Army, 51 in the Army National Guard, 17 in the Army Reserve, 24 in the Air Force and 14 in each the Navy and the Marine Corps.
McCollum’s amendment passed 226-199. She offered a second amendment, a measure that would have capped military spending on motorsports endorsements and advertising at $20 million, but it was defeated 167-260.
Devin Henry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.