Oversight of Executive Branch Spending

Floor Speech

By:  John Barrow
Date: Oct. 26, 2011
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. BARROW. Madam Speaker, I rise to ask my colleagues to join me in improving congressional oversight of Federal spending by cosponsoring H.R. 3121, the Reclaiming Oversight of the Executive Branch Spending Act.

Too often Congress appropriates vast amounts of money within broad funding categories and gives the executive branch the freedom to spend it with little oversight. The constitutional obligation to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely lies with Congress. My legislation would require that all Federal spending and loan guarantees over $100 million be explicitly approved by Congress.

Had my bill been law a year ago, Congress would have had to approve the $500 million loan guarantee to the now bankrupt Solyndra and perhaps we could have stopped that from happening. Today, however, the only real vetting of programs like the Solyndra loan happens after things have gone wrong and the money has been lost.

Congress needs to reassert itself and ensure that all programs are properly vetted. The old carpenter's rule still applies: measure twice, cut once.

I ask all of my colleagues to help me end wasteful spending by cosponsoring the Reclaiming Oversight of the Executive Branch Act.