When it comes to the world's largest military, regular size olives just won't do, says a House committee.
In its version of next year's defense budget, the House Appropriations Committee tells the Defense Department that it should start buying more olives for the troops - and only the large size will do.The provision is just three lines on Page 83 of the bill's report, under the innocuous heading, "Defense Personnel Support Command."
It says: "The committee directs the Defense Procurement Agency to increase its purchases of jumbo, colossal and super colossal ripe olives in future solicitations for ripe olive purchases."
Rep. Vic Fazio, D-Calif., serves on the Appropriations Committee and also represents a prime olive-growing area in the Sacramento Valley. He saw to it that the provision was included in the bill that was approved this week.
Tim Terry, a legislative assistant to Fazio, said Friday that the Defense Department has solicited competitive bids from companies producing only medium, large and extra large olives.
The congressman's provision pushes them to add jumbo, colossal and super colossal to the mix. The larger sizes cost $300 to $400 per ton and the smaller olives are more than $675 to $685 per ton, Terry said.
"Not only is this good for local growers, but it's cost-saving for the Defense Department," Terry said. "We're combining good government policy with constituent interests."
The full House is expected to consider the $240 billion spending plan next week, a budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 that also includes the panel's complaints that the Pentagon ignored its instructions about a classified program for a spy satellite.