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Mr. KELLY. Mr. Speaker, I do rise today in support of the Government Employee Accountability Act, H.R. 6016, and I thank the gentleman from Texas and the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Clay).
As a result of this, I think when we had that hearing last spring, both sides were outraged. I remember Chairman Issa speaking out very strongly and also Ranking Member Cummings speaking out very strongly. Because we truly are the stewards of the taxpayer money. And what we said at that time was that we're going to get to the bottom of this, and we're going to find out how this happened and why it happened. When I got back to my office, our switchboard was lighting up and people from back home in western Pennsylvania said, Why is this happening?
I stress exactly what you said--we have a lot of wonderful people working very hard for this country, for this government, and we don't want to paint them all with the same brush. But by the same token, when there is some wrongdoing, it is up to us in the Congress to step forward and do things that make sense.
So this is just a commonsense solution to a situation that has to be addressed. I would say that working together, this is a bipartisan effort to make sure that we have great accountability for those taxpayer dollars that are being spent.
This piece of legislation, as it goes forward today--let's make sure that we understand this--these are the senior executives, these are the creme de la creme, these are the top people that we rely on. That Western Region Conference, as Mr. Farenthold pointed out, was $600,000 over budget, and at some point you've got to wonder why. When we asked the GSA, when we asked Ms. Johnson, Why is Mr. Neely on leave with pay, she said, Well, we don't have any mechanism to prevent that from happening; we don't have the tools to do that. So what we said was, let's go back into the regular world, let's go back into commonsense rules and let's give them a tool to use that makes sense for the American people.
So, I applaud what you're saying, Mr. Clay. It's nice working with you on this. I want to especially thank the committee. We did work very hard on this to come up with something that makes sense for America and makes sense also for the people that work for us. So I thank you.
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