The Pentagon is in charge of more than 130 military bands. To keep all 6,500 musicians in line and in tune cost $437 million last year. According to Representative Martha E. McSally, Republican of Arizona, expenses including $11,000 flutes, $12,000 tubas, and $88,000 pianos.
While Rep. McSally said on the House floor that she believes “military bands play a very important role in ceremonies, funerals, honoring the fallen, and playing taps,” her proposed amendment “simply limits their ability to play in social functions, dances, and things that are really outside their core competencies and the competencies of the military.” That said, Rep. McSally wanted to make it clear that her amendment “is not an attack on the arts.” She said: I am a vocalist myself. I care deeply about the arts…but for every dollar that is spent on our bands to entertain at social functions, that is a dollar we are not spending on national security, on our troops, and our families.”