The U.S. Army has announced it is pulling out of NASCAR racing sponsorships this year, fueling a proposal by Minnesota Democrat Betty McCollum that would ban all military sponsorship of sports.
The Army cited budget concerns in its decision. But it will not head off debate on McCollum’s measure, which targets more than $70 million remaining in the Defense Department’s sports sponsorship programs for auto racing, bass fishing and ultimate fighting.
McCollum’s bill has made it through the House Appropriations Committee, though it faces potential hurdles in the coming weeks when a defense spending measure is expected to come to the House floor.
The House rejected a similar McCollum measure on defense NASCAR sponsorships last year.
(Update): Now McCollum is feeling a wind at her back. "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,” she said. “Congress is facing a very difficult budget environment, and I want taxpayer dollars protected – even at the Pentagon. I applaud the Army’s decision to terminate its funding of NASCAR.  The Army now joins the Navy and Marine Corps in terminating its NASCAR partnership.”