The House of Representatives voted late Wednesday to prohibit the Department of Homeland Security from using taxpayer dollars to buy and stockpile ammunition until they provide a “comprehensive report” to Congress on its ammunition usage, purchase history and contracting practices.
“Prior to committing taxpayer dollars for ammunition contracts, we must ensure that government agencies justify the necessity and cost to both Congress and the American people,” said Representative Mark Meadows (R.-N.C.), the amendment’s author.
The House approved the amendment to H.R. 2217, Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2014, by a 234-192 vote. Notably, eighteen democrats supported the amendment and only thirteen republicans opposed. Meadows cited concerns over the current practices and purchases of the Department as justification for the proposal.
“Earlier this year, we learned that DHS solicited bids for 1.1 billion rounds of ammunition,” Meadows said in a statement. “This is more than ten times the amount that the department purchased in fiscal year 2012. Given current inventory, DHS has nearly 4,000 rounds for each employee trained and certified in firearms use.”
The Government Accountability Office is currently investigating that large purchases made by the DHS. Such reports of the government purchasing mass quantities of ammunition and efforts to enact more restrictive gun-control legislation have compounded to spark a mass increase in demand for guns and ammunition — the likes of which many industry employees say they have never seen. (RELATED: Gun ranges forced to ration due to extreme ammo shortages)
The amendment requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit a detailed report to Congress of the Department’s mission requirements as it pertains to ammunition and “all contracting practices applied by the Department of Homeland Security to procure ammunition.” The report must also indicate all contract options and compare cost and availability.
Additionally, the amendment requires the Department to report “quarterly thereafter” to Congress the quantity of ammunition in inventory, used by and purchased by the Department of Homeland during and at the end of each calendar quarter. It even stipulates the Department provide “the ammunition type, the purpose of such usage, the average number of rounds used per agent or officer.”
Congressman Bridenstine (R-OK) saw the passage of the amendment as “an important step toward achieving the goals of the AMMO Act, H.R. 1764, which I co-sponsored.”
“The AMMO Act sets specific limits on the quantity of ammunition that can be purchased by each covered federal agency, while this bill only prohibits further purchase contracts by this one Department until it reports to Congress,” Bridenstine said in a statement.
The House passed the FY 2014 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act on Thursday. It provides $38.9 billion in discretionary funds for the DHS and now awaits Senate action.