A bipartisan group of Senators has introduced a bill to allow accountability for the Pentagon and penalize them for failing to pass an audit.

The new bill, titled the Audit the Pentagon Act of 2021 authored by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) with Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) as co-sponsors, is working to change the Pentagon’s continuous failure for passing an independent audit over the years. 

In 2017, the Defense Department announced its first agency-wide financial audit in history, marking a prospect for some transparency after notorious years of never been audited. Yet, it did not keep the promise that year, nor the following years. 

“The Pentagon and the military industrial complex have been plagued by a massive amount of waste, fraud and financial mismanagement for decades. That is absolutely unacceptable,” Sanders wrote in a statement. 

The bill will mandate all parts of the Defense Department to conduct a full independent audit of their budgets every year. In any year that any of the components of the department does not receive a clean audit, one percent of their finance will be drawn back to the Treasury Department. 

The Defense Department is granted hundreds of billions of dollars each year but has never been able to conduct a successful independent audit sets great doubts with lawmakers. According to the senators who co-sponsor the legislation, the department has not been diligent in how its spending is allotted.  

“We’ve seen example after example of excessive and inefficient spending by the Pentagon, and every dollar squandered is a dollar not being used to support our men and women in uniform,” said co-author of the bill, Senator Grassley. “After 30 years to get ready, this bill pushes the Defense Department to finally achieve a clean annual audit– a requirement that every other federal agency is held to.”

To explain the ongoing struggle to conduct an audit, Pentagon officials mentioned the department’s vast scale and diverse assets, including everything from staff and equipment to bases and weapons that emphasized the complexity in the process, according to npr.org.

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