Strike up the band! House votes to restore money

WASHINGTON — So much for the refrain about cutting spending. Lawmakers changed their tune on the military band budget.

By voice vote Wednesday, the Republican-controlled House restored $120 million for the armed services’ 100-plus military bands — money that budget-conscious members of the Appropriations Committee had cut last month. The quick vote came as Republicans and Democrats elsewhere on Capitol Hill clamored for significant spending cuts in negotiations with the White House on a deal to raise the borrowing limit.

Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, sponsor of the amendment to the $649 billion defense bill, said the cut to the band budget wouldn’t save taxpayers any money nor would it reduce the Pentagon budget.

“The facts about our bands are that they are an integral part of the patriotism that keeps our soldiers’ hearts beating fast,” Carter said.

Carter said the bands perform at funerals, USO events, concerts and welcome-home celebrations. He said the Army has 100 bands, Air Force 24, Navy 14 and the Marine Corps 14, and their numerous events “are all part of what makes our military the patriotic body that it is.”

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