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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2009 -- (Senate - September 10, 2008)

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, if I might add, I appreciate the sentiments of both of my colleagues. It has been a joint effort by Senator Levin and me.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have the letter we prepared printed in the Record after this colloquy.

The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so ordered.

(See exhibit 1.)

Mr. WARNER. I wish to also bring to the Senator's attention--he already knows, but those following the debate should have been advised that this letter prompted a GAO study, and that study, which was released recently, received widespread attention, not only here in the Senate and in the House of Representatives but throughout the Government and other circles. So I would say we are well along in achieving some--what I would call better accounting for these dollars, better control over the expenditures.

We have heard that the report is prepared by Stuart Bowen, whom I see regularly, three or four times a year, and I know my colleague and others feel likewise. I have a high regard for the work he and his staff have done through the years with that report. There was a time when there were elements of the Government--I won't get into specifics--which wanted to abolish that department. I think the Senator from Michigan remembers that. We stepped in and said in very simple language: No way; they are going to continue.

Mr. DORGAN. Mr. President, if the Senator will yield for a question or comment, I think the special inspector general, Stuart Bowen, has done a terrific job. I would commend all of my colleagues to take a look at the reports the special inspector general has issued. They are unbelievably valuable to us.

The Senator is correct. There were some who were pushing very hard to eliminate the special inspector general, and it was the fight waged by Senator Levin and Senator Warner to say that would not make sense at all. So I appreciate the work of Inspector General Bowen, and I appreciate the work of my colleagues.

Exhibit 1

U.S. SENATE,

COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES,

Washington, DC, March 6, 2008.
Hon. DAVID M. WALKER,
Comptroller General of the United States,
Washington, DC.

DEAR MR. WALKER: Nearly five years ago, on March 27, 2003, then Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, in testimony before the Defense Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, was asked whom he expected would pay for the rebuilding of Iraq. He answered that ``there's a lot of money to pay for this. It doesn't have to be U.S. taxpayer money. And it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people ..... the oil revenues of that country could bring between 50 and 100 billion dollars over the course of the next two or three years. ..... We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon.''

In fact, we believe that it has been overwhelmingly U.S. taxpayer money that has funded Iraq reconstruction over the last five years, despite Iraq earning billions of dollars in oil revenue over that time period that have ended up in non-Iraqi banks. At the same time, our conversations with both Iraqis and Americans during our frequent visits to Iraq, as well as official government and unofficial media reports, have convinced us that the Iraqi Government is not doing nearly enough to provide essential services and improve the quality of life of its citizens.

According to the U.S. Department of State's Iraq Weekly Status Report for February 27, 2008, the Iraq Oil Ministry goal for 2008 is to produce 2.2 million barrels per day (MBPD). To date through the 24th of February, the 2008 weekly averages have ranged from a low of 2.1 MBPD to a high of 2.51 MBPD, missing that goal for one week only. Exports are over 1.9 MBPD, with revenues estimated at $41.0 billion in 2007 and $9.4 billion in 2008 year to date.

Extrapolating the $9.4 billion of oil revenues for the first two months of 2008 yields an estimate of $56.4 billion for all of 2008. And that figure will probably be low given the predictions for oil prices to continue to rise over the coming year. In essence, we believe that Iraq will accrue at least $100.0 billion in oil revenues in 2007 and 2008.

We request you look into this matter and provide answers to the following questions:

What are the estimated Iraqi oil revenues each year from 2003-2007?

How much has Iraq and the United States, respectively, spent annually during that time period on training, equipping and supporting Iraqi security forces, and on Iraq reconstruction, governance, and economic development?

What are the projections for oil revenue and spending for 2008?

What is the estimate of the total Iraqi oil revenue that has accumulated unspent from 2003-2007, and the expected estimate at the end of 2008?

How much money does the Iraqi Government have deposited, in which banks, and in what countries?

Why has the Iraqi Government not spent more of its oil revenue on reconstruction, economic development and providing essential services for the Iraqi people?

Your assistance in this matter would be appreciated.

Sincerely,

JOHN WARNER,
Member.

CARL LEVIN,
Chairman.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. WARNER. Madam President, I commend our distinguished colleague for this amendment. It is one that was specifically requested by the administration. I think in a most cooperative way, our distinguished chairman has joined in. It relates to the missile defense system which is so essential to our Nation and indeed much of the free world.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan is recognized.

Mr. LEVIN. Madam President, I thank Senator Kyl for not just the amendment but his willingness to work to craft the language in a way that I think has improved it, narrowed it in a number of ways, but also meets the needs of the Defense Department and our allies.

Mr. WARNER. Madam President, I urge consideration of the amendment.


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