REQUIRING SECRETARY OF DEFENSE TO SUBMIT ANNUAL REPORT ON CONGRESSIONAL INITIATIVES -- (House of Representatives - December 07, 2006)
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Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today in favor of Mr. SOUDER'S commonsense legislation. As defense spending takes up a great percentage of Federal spending each year and is perhaps the most complex spending issue we confront in Congress, it is past time for us to have a clear tool to determine the effectiveness of the billions of dollars we spend each year.
One of the difficulties in accounting for Defense spending is just trying to figure out the total amount of funds spent. Representative SOUDER'S legislation will require the Department of Defense to provide to us a clear number of how much is spent each year.
Earlier this year, in my position as a member of the Budget Committee, I wrote Secretary Rumsfeld decrying the poor condition of financial management at the Department. When this administration took office, DOD announced it was adding $100 million to the budget as a down payment on improved financial management; and yet, Deputy Secretary of Defense England testified before the committee that the department was unable to complete a proper financial statement. Additionally, the GAO has reported that the Department has failed on being able to track the spending we have provided in supplemental appropriations despite the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, mandating that departments must be able to perform this kind of recordkeeping.
As Congress will likely consider another supplemental package of possibly more than $100 billion early next year, it is critical that we, as legislators, have the tools to determine whether this money is being well-spent. Funds allocated to the Department of Defense are directly responsible for the safety of our soldiers who are risking their lives defending our freedom. We have a duty to ensure that this spending is free of waste, fraud, and abuse.
I congratulate the gentleman on a well-constructed and critical bill and urge its immediate passage.
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