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Public Statements

Reducing Defense Department Printing and Reproduction Budget

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. WEST. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to support H.R. 1246. It is a simple, commonsense bill that calls for an overall 10 percent reduction in the printing and reproduction costs of the Department of Defense.

More importantly, the American people support H.R. 1246, as more than 150,000 people voted online via the YouCut program on passing this bill. The American people are behind this, and we need to be behind the American people. H.R. 1246 will help us keep our promise to the American people that we will cut waste, fraud and abuse in government spending and spend taxpayer dollars more efficiently, and that includes every department or agency.

In fiscal year 2012, the Department of Defense proposes to spend $357 million for printing and reproduction services. Now, I am not arguing that paper copies are no longer needed. We all still rely on paper. But I do not understand why we need examples of these expensive, high-gloss color briefing slides and slick books that the DOD sends over here for everything from briefing slides to budget rollouts and miscellaneous reports. If anyone is interested, the House Armed Services Committee has a boatload of these fancy printed reports. I think the information that DOD needs to get to us, as well as share internally amongst themselves or with the public, can just as easily be conveyed using plain black-and-white copies that are printed on both sides. Nowadays, a lot can be transmitted electronically.

During my 22 years of active duty service in the United States Army, I witnessed the growth of the excessive PowerPoint briefs and reproduction. I am well aware of areas where saving money is very possible, and this is one of those areas.

These cuts are aimed at wasteful Defense Department spending and will not affect the overall mission of our men and women in uniform in protecting our national security. Mr. Speaker, a mere 10 percent reduction to this one account would save taxpayers $35.7 million in fiscal year 2012 and nearly $180 million over the next 5 years. We owe it to the taxpayers to take this step.

Now, this may seem like a small amount to some, but imagine if every Member of Congress, all 435 of us, took it upon ourselves to do the exact same and find where we could cut some wasteful spending. We would regain the trust and confidence of the American people as good stewards of their resources. Let's pass H.R. 1246.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. Speaker, I would say this. I do believe that we must take a first step when we talk about deficit reduction. I think that this is one of the important things. As I said in my statement, if each and every one of us in this House, all 435, made the effort to find these instances of fraud, waste and abuse, then we could have more significant cuts into our deficit and, of course, into our debt. And I think at a critical time when, the gentlewoman from Guam just stated, maybe perhaps also following along with this, we do need to look at the amount of requests for reports that we are having.

But still, as we are talking about efficiency in the Department of Defense, this is a first step toward that efficiency occurring. And I think that anyone that would not be willing to support this says that they are not willing to take that first step toward getting the Department of Defense and all our departments and all of our agencies to be more effective and more efficient. But as well, that does start with us here in the Members of the House of Representatives.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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