Saturday, June 30, 2012

NASCAR Spending Bill Headed For July House Vote

The battle lines are drawn for next month’s vote to determine military sponsorships of NASCAR teams and events will continue in 2013 and beyond. 

McKeon: fighting amendment
Representatives Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) and Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) have offered an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill that would end military involvement in NASCAR and other professional sports. However, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) raised a point of order against the measure last week, and the House Rules Committee voting to vote on whether to strike the measure form the bill. 

Both McCollum – who authored an identical amendment last year before being denied in a lopsided vote – and Kingston have portrayed themselves as taxpayer watchdogs. Both have said they hold no animosity against NASCAR, with Kingston saying recently, “I'm very pro-military, but at some point we've got to get in the habit of cutting programs that are less efficient and less effective. $20 million for one NASCAR race, have we lost our minds? And have we lost them permanently? I'd say this is a great place to send a signal.” 

Interestingly, the McCollum/Kingston amendment currently includes no provisions for cutting the Defense budget, instead merely specifying where the money cannot be spent. Approximately $80 million in funding would be affected by the amendment; a small percentage of proposed $519 billion Pentagon budget. As a result of the objections raised by McKeon last week, McCollum said she will re-write the amendment enabling it to be presented again on the House floor. She said additional language may be added to cut the $80 million from the Defense Budget. 

The amendment has drawn heavy criticism from the NASCAR community, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. suggesting that Kingston “do his homework” by attending a NASCAR race before making decisions about the effectiveness of the military’s motorsports-based programs. “He's a Republican from Georgia,” joked Earnhardt. “He ought to have been to a NASCAR race by now.” 

Kingston scoffed at Earnhardt’s comments, telling reporter Jeremy Herb of The Hill, “If I was receiving millions of dollars from the federal government, I would defend the program vigorously as well.” 

Last year, McCollum’s amendment failed by a 281-148 vote, but with the support of Kingston, a Tea Party Republican, observers say the amendment may now have a 50/50 chance of passage. A vote is expected after the July 4 Congressional recess.


  1. Anonymous7:11 PM

    $20 million for one race? Are these people crazy or just too stupid to get the facts straight?

  2. Anonymous5:28 PM

    gonna put it out there on facebook and ask all those in these 2 states get on the phone as well all the rest who can call their own reps!