House of Representatives Approves Huffman’s Amendment to Block Zombie Coal Earmark

July 11, 2019

Washington, D.C.- The House of Representatives approved Rep. Huffman’s (D-San Rafael) amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to once again block a “zombie” earmark requiring that one particular American military base in Germany depend on imported, Pennsylvania coal for its energy needs.

“Congress has repeatedly legislated to save taxpayers millions of dollars each year by ridding ourselves of this zombie earmark, but yet it keeps coming back to life,” said Rep. Huffman. “The fact that this earmark ever existed is cronyism at its worst, placing the interests of lobbyists over the American people. There’s no reason we should burn dirty coal—and our taxpayer dollars—to power our military bases, and I’m glad we’re working once again to ensure that this wasteful earmark is removed from the final Defense Appropriations bill.”

The “zombie” earmark, which was first included in the defense spending bill in 1972, costs millions of dollars annually by requiring the Department of Defense to purchase anthracite coal from Pennsylvania to heat military facilities at Kaiserslautern, Germany. Until the Huffman efforts, beginning in 2015, to bury the nearly half-century old earmark, Congress had approved the congressional earmark every year since 1972.

Although amendments to remove the earmark from the Defense appropriations bill have been successful in the past, language was included in the FY2019 NDAA to permanently continue preference for domestically sourced energy at the Kaiserslautern military base for a new hospital being built. Rep. Huffman’s amendment to the FY2020 NDAA repeals this provision.

Huffman’s amendment is supported by:  Campaign for Liberty, Coalition to Reduce Spending, National Taxpayers Union, Taxpayers for Common Sense, and Taxpayers Protection Alliance.