WASHINGTON - After more than a year of pressure from DFL U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, the United States Army will no longer sponsor the Stewart-Haas NASCAR racing team and its driver Ryan Newman. The Stewart-Haas racing team made the announcement Tuesday.
The Army has been an active sponsor of NASCAR teams for a decade and argued the sponsorships had helped with recruiting. Last year, McCollum unsuccessfully sought to end the Army's $7 million a year support for the team and her office received death threats over the issue. This year, McCollum teamed up with Georgia Republican U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston and attached an amendment to a military spending bill to end all military sponsorship of sporting events, which she estimates costs taxpayers upwards of $80 million this year.
"By ending its sponsorship of NASCAR, the Army made the right move to eliminate a wasteful program and protect taxpayer dollars - which has been my goal all along," said McCollum in a statement.
McCollum and Kingston plan to continue work making sure their amendment banning all sports sponsorships by the military becomes law. The military also sponsors bass fishing and ultimate fighting tournaments. House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA), plans to challenge the amendment on procedural grounds once the military spending bill reaches the floor sometime later in July.
I could not be more thrilled about this decision to pull tax dollars out of a gas-guzzling sport like NASCAR. GOP lawmakers should be thrilled about this, Teapartiers included, as they always go on about how the federal government is spending too much. I'm a liberal, but feel that fiscal responsibility on the government's part will help people have more faith in their government; that money can go to serve the troops and the American people in better ways. Bravo and thanks to Rep. McCollum and Rep. Kingston.