INSPECTOR GENERAL REFORM ACT OF 2008 -- (House of Representatives - September 25, 2008)
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Mr. COOPER. Thanks to my friend and colleague Mr. Towns of New York and my friend from Connecticut, Mr. Shays.
This is a very important bill for cleaning up the mess in government. Inspectors General are the watchdogs on behalf of the U.S. taxpayer to make sure that the waste, fraud and abuse that can occur in any Federal agency is cleaned up.
This bill is long overdue. We've been working on it for a long time. Sadly, it took many years for it to be brought up for a vote. But now with the Democratic majority, it passed, as my friend from New York noted, overwhelmingly. It has been passed in the Senate, and now will soon be enacted into law.
The key points are these: We needed to professionalize the IGs. These are wonderful public servants, but due to historical accident, some of them are appointed by the President, some are appointed by the agency heads, some of them are more independent than others. There's been a lot of confusion there, and they simply haven't had the independence and the accountability that they need to have to serve the U.S. taxpayer.
I want to thank, in particular, previous legislative directors that I've had who've worked on this bill for literally many years. Anne Kim deserves great credit. Cicely Simpson deserves great credit. And my current Legislative Director, James Leuschen, deserves great credit because these are the folks who really carried the ball during the years in which we were, literally, unable to get a vote.
Believe it or not, this bill even faced, this year, a Presidential veto threat; they were so worried about reducing the patronage that they had had in past appointments.
But now, finally, the IGs of America will be professionalized. That is good news, not only for every Federal agency, but also, most importantly, for the Federal taxpayer.
No matter how much oversight we conduct in this Congress, and I'm proud to see the Oversight and Government Reform Committee revitalized under Henry Waxman's leadership, because we are conducting the hearings that really should have been held over many years.
But no matter how watchful Congress is in looking over Federal agencies, we can't be on the ground in the agency every day the way Inspectors General can be.
So I want to congratulate my friends from New York and Connecticut because these two gentlemen are true public servants. Their hearts are in the right place when it comes to protecting the taxpayer, and now we've even persuaded the majority of the House and the Senate and the White House to do the right thing.
I hope we can have a substantial vote on the suspension for professionalizing Inspectors General of the United States of America.
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