EMERGENCY SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT FOR DEFENSE, THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR, AND TSUNAMI RELIEF, 2005 -- (House of Representatives - March 15, 2005)
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Mr. COOPER. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the Tierney amendment. This is a lot of money we are talking about. As the late Everett Dirksen said, a billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you have got some real money.
We are talking about $200 billion. And we all support our warfighters. We support our men and women in uniform, but we should not throw money at any problem. And all this amendment asks is that we copy the Truman Commission where a Democratic Senator investigated a Democratic President. This should not be a partisan issue at all. Both parties should unite.
And I congratulate the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. Leach) for his strong work in this worthy effort. Republicans should want a real-time bipartisan look at what is really going on.
I had the good fortune of being in Baghdad last Christmas. Our C-130 was broken, so we spent a little extra time at the Baghdad airport. A shipment came in that our military did not want us to see. But I had my video camera handy, and I took pictures. What was it? Six large pallets, off-loaded from U.S. aircraft, beautifully packaged, you could tell, lots of small boxes on each pallet, very heavy to lift. What was in those boxes? Answer, $1.4 billion, billion with a B as in "boy," $1.4 billion of U.S. currency shipped in allegedly to replenish the Iraqi central bank. Well, I hope and pray that was true. But when our own Paul Bremer says he really cannot account for $9 billion of money, when eyewitnesses see 300 million in U.S. cash being flown out of the country, allegedly to buy arms for the good guys, you have got to wonder. All we are asking for here is accountability.
And I want to pay special tribute to my friend, the gentleman from California (Mr. Thompson), a leading member of the Blue Dog Coalition. What we want is accountability. We are fiscal and defense hawks, but we need to know where the money goes. The taxpayers of this country deserve no less. This is as far from a partisan issue as you can get. All we want is accountability because catching fraud, waste, and abuse is the most bipartisan of issues. So I congratulate my friend, the gentleman from California (Mr. Thompson), also the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Tierney). This needs to be in the bill because these supplementals, they are becoming a habit, guys. Every year we are going to have a major supplemental. And it is high time that we find out where the money went. Support the Tierney amendment.
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