Amendment would ban military sponsorships of professional sports

ATLANTA – The House Appropriations Committee last week approved an amendment prohibiting the military from sponsoring professional sports, such as NASCAR.

The amendment, made by U.S. Reps. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., and Betty McCollum, D-Minn., came during deliberations on the Department of Defense’s budget for Fiscal Year 2013. The amendment passed by a voice vote and is now part of a $608 billion defense funding bill to be considered by the U.S. House.

According to records obtained by Kingston’s office, the Department of Defense spent $96.1 million on sponsorships in Fiscal Year 2011 and is aiming to spend $80.3 million during the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

“You’ve got to lead by example,” Kingston told USA Today. “I think that if Southern, pro-NASCAR people say, ‘You know what, I love NASCAR but this is not a good recruiting tool (and) we’ve got to make some serious decisions in the name of the (USA).’ I think NASCAR fans would appreciate that.”

Over the next five years, the U.S. Army is aiming to reduce its force size by 72,000, but plans to spend $16.1 million on sponsorships in the current fiscal year than the $18.7 million it spend during Fiscal Year 2011, according to a news release from Kingston. The National Guard spent $121 million in 2011 and 2012 – the most among the military services.

“We may disagree on some things but on this we should be able to come together,” Kingston said in a news release.  “The government borrows forty cents for every dollar it spends and this is where we’re spending it? In the face of deep cuts and troop force reductions, the military should not be spending nearly $100 million sponsoring professional sports.”

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