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Military Construction And Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


MILITARY CONSTRUCTION AND VETERANS AFFAIRS APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - June 15, 2007)

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, American businesses in the private sector continue to advance the use of information and e-commerce technology to strengthen their bottom line and increase customer service. However, too many government agencies continue to use antiquated operating systems that do not use taxpayer dollars efficiently or create optimal conditions for customer service.

Right here in the House of Representatives, we offer Americans e-commerce services in the form of ``Write Your Rep.'' I am sure most of my colleagues and their staff use this program, and they use it with efficiency. It helps us to stay in touch.

I have a military post in my district, Fort Campbell. It is located in Montgomery County, Tennessee. I also have 60,000 veterans that are there. One of the things we find is that many times our agencies, working with these constituents, continue to do business on antiquated systems that don't optimize efficiently.

That is why I am offering this amendment today. Increasing the use of e-commerce technology and procedures in the bureaucracy will allow critical agencies funded under this act to operate more efficiently. But, more importantly, it will allow our members of the military and our veterans to gain access to records, especially health records, that they need in a timely manner.

I want to thank the chairman for recognizing this important business objective. The underlying legislation takes a step forward to the goal by encouraging the agencies to expand the use of e-commerce.

My amendment, however, is an important step further. It would direct the agencies funded under H.R. 2642 to expand the use of e-commerce technologies in the conducting of their business practices within the limits, within the limits, of the existing statute and funding.

It is a straightforward, simple amendment. As we know, the bureaucracy is not going to do this on their own. They need the oversight from Congress.

If successful, we have got three points we hope it would achieve: number one, lead to greater transparency in agency asset and records management; number two, enhance governmental reform and efficiency; and, number three, spur agencies to build best practices and conduct themselves in a more businesslike manner.

Mr. EDWARDS. Mr. Chairman, if the gentlewoman will yield, I think this is a good amendment, and I will support it. I think there will be broad bipartisan support for your amendment, because it is well thought out and it is a positive thing to do. We will support it.

Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, I thank the chairman for thinking about the records process with our veterans and our military.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

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