(The Hill) – The House late Wednesday voted to stop the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from entering into new contracts to buy millions of rounds of ammunition until the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reports to Congress on the need for the ammo, and its cost.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) proposed an amendment to the DHS spending bill for 2014 that would require the report to Congress before it can pursue plans to buy 1.1 billion rounds of ammunition. Meadows said the speed bump is a necessary reaction to news of the huge purchase, which alarmed many Americans and prompted conservative groups to suspect that the government was stocking up on the rounds to fight citizens.
“Given this large purchase, the American people and members of Congress rightfully had concerns and questions,” Meadows said. “This is a responsible amendment which ensures that Congress and the American people are aware of the necessity and the cost of ammunition prior to entering into new contracts for procurement.”
Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) said the amendment was unnecessary based on his talks with DHS officials. Carter said the department has since admitted that its ammunition needs are not as great as first reported, and said the department is pursuing a bulk purchase to keep the costs down.
Carter also rejected speculation by some that there are ammunition shortages around the country because DHS is buying it all, and said the Meadows’s language would interrupt the regular procurement process at DHS. But Meadows pointed out that his amendment would not interrupt current Homeland Security contracts to buy ammunition.
The Meadows language passed late Wednesday night in a 234-192 vote.
The House considered dozens of amendments to the 2014 spending bill for DHS, H.R. 2217. Two others considered Wednesday night would delay the implementation of last year’s law that would phase out federal flood insurance subsidies and put the flood insurance program on a path toward market-based rates.
Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) proposed language prohibiting the spending of any funds on this law in 2014. Several members said the language was an attempt to reverse a bipartisan deal on flood insurance passed last year, but many other members in flood-prone states supported it, and the House approved it in a 281-146 vote.
Rep. Jon Runyan (R-N.J.) proposed similar language that would delay increases in flood insurance premiums in New Jersey and New York, but the House rejected that proposal in a 148-278 vote.