PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 4939, EMERGENCY SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT FOR DEFENSE, THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR, AND HURRICANE RECOVERY, 2006 -- (House of Representatives - March 15, 2006)
Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, we will soon consider a bill that will provide more than $90 billion for the continued wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the continued response to Hurricane Katrina. As we debate this bill, we must also put in place measures to ensure that these funds are spent wisely.
As a result of the work of the special Inspector General in Iraq and the General Accountability Office, we know that billions of dollars has been wasted, and fraud and abuse is rife in the Katrina rebuilding and the war in Iraq.
One would presume that after being advised that taxpayer money had been misused, Congress would make certain that similar misuse would not occur in the future. Sadly, that presumption would be wrong. Perhaps no failures have been so regular and so great in the Republican Congress as the failure to do effective oversight.
Today, we have a chance to reverse this record of lax oversight by allowing the consideration of the Kaptur-Sabo amendment. The amendment would add some strength to an oversight process badly in need of it by: establishing a select committee modeled on the World War II Truman Committee and ensuring that Congress would have a vote on the adequacy of the national security review done on any proposed acquisition by a foreign entity of a business involved in interstate commerce in the United States.
The Truman Committee taught two important lessons--especially in war time--contractor performance needs to be closely scrutinized, and that scrutiny can be provided without partisanship.
Reports that $9 billion in money intended for use in Iraq cannot be accounted for should be reason enough to create a Truman-like committee, as envisioned by Ms. KAPTUR, Mr. TIERNEY, and Mr. LEACH. Evidence that money that was supposed to relieve suffering in the areas devastated by Katrina has been misused offers a strong endorsement.
Our recent experience with the Dubai Ports World acquisition should have convinced us that Congress has a role in determining whether and when foreign entities can safely operate elements of our critical infrastructure. These determinations are simply too important to be left solely to the judgment of the executive branch. Mr. SABO proposes a workable, common-sense process. We should consider it today.
Mr. Speaker, the American people expect Congress to do more than write blank checks. They expect us to be aggressive in making sure that money is spent responsibly. Uftfortunately, this Republican Congress has failed to meet this expectation. With this amendment we could begin the oversight of taxpayer dollars that should have begun long ago. I urge my colleagues to defeat the previous question and let us adopt the Kaptur-Sabo amendment.