Government Spending Accountability Act of 2013

Floor Speech

By:  Dennis Ross
Date: July 31, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. ROSS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Government Spending Accountability Act, which will rein in out-of-control government spending by providing much-needed reforms and transparency for Federal employee travel and government-sponsored conferences.

As someone who introduced similar legislation last year, I want to thank Chairman FARENTHOLD for his continued work on this important issue.

Mr. Speaker, reports of lavish and out-of-control spending by various Federal agencies, most notably by the General Services Administration, have highlighted the need for serious reform for these types of fiscally irresponsible practices. However, other agencies have been responsible for carelessly wasting taxpayer funds as well.

One example of this waste took place an hour from my home in Lakeland, Florida. In 2011, the Department of Veterans Affairs held two human resources training conferences in Orlando, Florida, at a cost of $6.1 million to the taxpayers. Last year, an inspector general report published within the Department of Veterans Affairs found that the Department conference planners allowed up to $762,000 in unauthorized or wasteful spending. This included gifts, spa treatments, tickets for helicopter rides, and golf packages.

Mr. Speaker, the men and women in uniform are some of the best and proudest that America has to offer. They take an oath to uphold not only the Constitution of this United States but also to give the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. Here, the veterans administration agency, which is charged with making sure that their benefits are adequately and appropriately provided, has been indicted with wasting these taxpayer dollars. Unfortunately, at a time when veterans are waiting in line for benefits they fought and sacrificed to earn, taxpayers should not be subsidizing lavish hotel bills and golf outings.

Once again, I want to thank the chairman for introducing this legislation, and I encourage all of my colleagues to join me in passing this good government legislation.

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