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Mr. POSEY. Mr. Chairman, my amendment is very simple. It prohibits taxpayer dollars from being used for the Department of Transportation's International Highway Technology Scanning Program. According to the Department of Transportation, this program enables the Department's officials to access innovative technologies and practices in other countries that could significantly improve our Nation's highways.
I, and most taxpayers, really don't have any problem with that. If someone else has a good idea, we can and we should learn from that. But most taxpayers were outraged when ABC News and Citizens Against Government Waste highlighted that this program was bankrolling globe-trotting junkets across the world.
One such trip featured a 17-day ordeal to Australia, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Great Britain to look at billboards, all the while, racking up taxpayer bills at five-star hotels and restaurants. Among the important research conducted by the team was a trip to Scotland to evaluate ``road furniture along rural roads.'' And in the Netherlands they took a serious look at ``examples of outdoor advertising.''
When the Federal Government is up to its neck in debt, such expenditures truly are an abuse of the taxpayers. As a result, Citizens Against Government Waste was able to apply enough pressure to the agency to suspend the $1.2 million annual program. We're not really sure what ``suspend'' means, if it's for a day, a week, or a month.
ABC News reported that upwards of $12 million has been spent on the program since the year 2000. I see the suspension of the program by Transportation Secretary LaHood as a really good start, but there is still no guarantee that such waste will not resume, as nothing in law would prevent the program from being resurrected in the future. This amendment, very simply, will ensure that the program will not come back to life during the fiscal year 2013.
Mr. Chairman, Washington is approaching another trillion-plus deficit. We simply cannot afford five-star junkets.
I urge support of the amendment.
I yield back the balance of my time.
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