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tv   [untitled]    April 18, 2012 3:00am-3:30am EDT

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performs. is there anything else that we haven't addressed in the legislation that you all want to speak to before we close the hearing? >> if i could just go back to suspension and debarment for a second. we -- you know, the i.g. by its very nature just loves independence. i think that's what makes us so effective. and so we do endorse. i know we're at odds with the agency on this, but we think that the s & d official should in fact be very independent of the political decision-making process in the agency. >> yeah. i mean, with all due respect to secretary kennedy, even if the person in charge of sdo is not buying anything they're helping them write the policies, they're telling them how to buy it. so if those policies failed and allowed some bad actors to be included in contracting, i think it's harder sometimes to hold that. so i'm going to continue to push
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that in the suspension and debarment office that i think is dictated by the legislation and makes sense in terms of functions of an sdo official. anybody else? yes, miss hallbrook. >> i just wanted to add that while i agree with inspector general geisel that funding is a critical element to make sure we get started in oversight quickly on a contingency operation i think that the parameters of the legislation that require coordination and coordinated planning and reporting by lead i.g. will be effective as well. as that funding takes a while to gear up at the d.o.d.i.g. because of our size we have the agility to immediately plug a trained group of auditors into a contingency and investigators. so while the funding is critical, the language in the legislation that i think in some ways documents the coordination, collaboration, and the lessons learned in the past contingency operations oversight will go a long way to ensuring that there's no gap in oversight when one begins. >> yes. >> i of course agree with my
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colleague from d.o.d. i would also point out that one other very important part of the legislation should be our ability to use title 5 and title 22 annuitants because they have just what you were talking about, that very necessary experience. and if we can get them quickly when we need them, it will be a great help to getting the right people who can do the job. >> okay. and i think mr. carroll mentioned that previously, that we needed to be able to get at that workforce. which makes sense. that makes sense. well, i want to thank all three of you for your great work and for being here today and i'm continuing to work to work on this legislation. anything else you think we need to be working on as we tweak it and adjust it and get it into final form that hopefully we can get at least part of it enacted in the defense authorization
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bill this year, that's our goal. so we continue to improve it. i think we've gotten some great input from you today. i think it's very clear that we can make a change in terms of how we provide for the lead inspector general and contingencies and i think that will work out very well. thank you. >> thank you. up next on c-span 3, the group citizens against government waste releases its annual report on federal spending on earmarks. then we'll hear from actor alec baldwin at the national press club. later, a conversation on u.s. dependence on foreign oil. wednesday on "washington journal," a look at the cost of gasoline. representative frank pallone,
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democrat of new jersey, talks about efforts to oversee oil markets. then more on the issue with representative phil gingrey, republican of georgia. later, james mamford of "wired" magazine talks about the building of the $2 billion nsa data center. "washington journal" live every morning starting at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. this weekend on "book tv" on c-span 2, live coverage from the "los angeles times" festival of books. coverage starts at 2:00 p.m. eastern saturday and sunday. saturday at 3:30 p.m. biographers john farrell, jim newton, and richard reeves on clarence darrow, dwight d. eisenhower, and jfk. and at 7:30, call in with your questions for steven ross, author of "hollywood left and right," how movie stars shaped american politics. sunday at 2:00 eastern walk for eric alterman and his take on liberals in "the cause." and at 5:00, a panel on
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surveillance and secrets-w laurie arntds, annie jacobsen, and michael shurmur. the entire schedule for the weekend is online at the group citizens against government waste has released its analyst report on federal spending on earmarks. we'll hear from the group's president, thomas schatz, along with senators john mccain, jim demint, plus representatives jeff flake of arizona and tom price of georgia. >> good morning. i'm tom schatz, the president of citizens against government waste. since cagw published the first pig book in 1991, our objective has been to eventually eliminate earmarks. the 2012 congressional pig book shows that tremendous progress has been made toward that goal.
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there are only 152 earmarks, a record low. that is a 98.3% decrease from the 9,129 ear marks in fiscal year 2010. the total cost is $3.3 billion, which is an 80% dedpraets 16.5 billion that was in the appropriations bills two years ago. there are no earmarks for museums, theaters, opera houses, bridges to nowhere. would utilization research, shrimp agriculture, or brown tree snakes. there is no state by state breakdown. and there are no oinker awards. instead, many of the earmarks in fiscal year 2012 involve larger amounts of money and include fewer details than in prior years. for example, a $50 million earmark for the national guard counter drug program which appears in the department of defense appropriations act corresponds to nine earmarks
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totaling $23 million in fiscal year 2010. in that year the projects appeared in the congressionally directed spending section at the end of the bill and included the names of the members and the location of the projects in accordance with the transparency rules. members also created new categories of earmarks such as additional funding for ongoing work and a continuing authorities program all within the army corps of engineers inside the energy and water appropriations bill. and unfortunately, in our view, our appearance here today also means that the congressional moratorium on earmarks has been violated. there's always been a difference in definition, and in our view some of them do appear to have violated the moratorium. but we're not here to quibble over a definition. we're here to point out that we have made all this progress thanks to the members here today, taxpayers, members of cagw, and certainly a changed attitude on both sides of the aisle on capitol hill.
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but since each bill was certified as earmark-free, there is far less transparency. it is not clear who asked for these earmarks or who might be making phone calls to various agencies after the bills have been adopted and the money is sitting there to ask them to send a particular project to a state or district. so the next step in tracking earmarks would be to enforce president bush's january 2008 executive order that each federal agency must release all communications from members of congress related to earmarks. it's not a coincidence that all of the programs in the 2012 congressional pig book correspond to past earmarks. in addition, in november 2011 president obama reiterated that agencies should release the letters from members and all contacts that direct agency staff to fund particular projects. as usual, the department of defense was the repository of
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the vast majority of earmarks. 61% in defense. $2 billion out of the $3.3 billion total. and the senate was once again the source of far more earmarks than the house. out of the earmarks that could be identified as coming from the house or senate, 77% of them originated in the senate. now, some of the earmarks that again appeared in prior years that we think could violate the moratorium include $35 million for the national energy technology laboratory, $10 million for the chicago sanitary and ship dispersal barrier, $8.9 million for san joaquin river restoration, and $3 million for aquatic plant control. one-run of the longest-running earmarks which this year received $5.9 million, is the east-west center in hawaii. the senator has received ten earmarks worth $103.8 million since 2001 -- i'm sorry.
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since 1997. it's been around longer. al added by senate appropriations committee chairman daniel inouye. and the senator admitted in 2007 that the project was committed over the objections of the state department and without any hearings. a similar group, the north-south center, stopped receiving earmarks in 2001. there is that doubt that funding for the east-west center also would have gone south were it not located in the state of the senate appropriations committee chairman. one of the more egregious earmarks in the defense bill is $5 million added for the star base youth program which teaches science, technology, engineering, and math to at-risk youth in multiple locations at or near military bases around the country. since fiscal year 2001 six earmarks costing taxpayers $19 million have been directed toward star base. a february 2012 government accountability office report on program duplication and overlap found that $3 billion was spent
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in 13 agencies for these stem programs. eliminating the star base program would drop that number all the way down to 208. because a moratorium is only temporary, senator pat toomey and representative jeff flake, both of whom are here today, have introduced the bipartisan earmark elimination act, which would establish a permanent ban on earmarks. unfortunately, the senate rejected an amendment that senator toomey offered by a vote of 40-59, which is a lot more than we used to get to try to ban earmarks. and the bill introduced by congressman flake has not reached the floor of the house. that would be the full objective and would meet our original goal in 1991 of truly eliminating earmarks. the effort to permanently ban earmarks is essential. many members of congress, including senate majority leader harry reid, senate appropriations chairman daniel inouye, a number of republicans
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including cagw's porker of the month, mike rodgers, the republican of alabama, have been clamoring for the restoration of earmarks. representative rodgers said earmarks are required in order to pass legislation, referring mostly to the transportation bill, which has had trouble reaching the house floor not because of a lack of earmarks but because it is simply too expensive. senator reid has stated often that earmarking has been going on since we were a country and there is a constitutional oblths for congressionally directed spending. senator inouye says he will continue to do everything he can to reinstate earmarks. until a permanent ban is established, taxpayers will be justified in believing that members of congress are being creative in trying to skirt the moratorium and continuing to obtain earmarks. it is certainly reasonable to conclude that the 59 members of the senate who voted against senator toomey's amendment would like to continue having earmarks. as in previous years, all of the
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items in cagw's 2012 congressional pig book meet our seven-point criteria, which was established in 1919 in conjunction with the bipartisan congressional pork buffers coalition. the item must be requested by only the house or senate, not authorized, not competitively awarded, not requested by the president, greatly exceeding the president's budget request or the previous year's funding, not been the subject of hearings or serves only a local or special interest. and again, in the 2012 congressional pig book, all of the earmarks have appeared in prior years. that means that since 1991 cagw has identified 110,129 earmarks worth a total of $311 billion. and we'd like that to be the final number pending the approval of these efforts to permanently ban earmarks. with that i'd like to introduce senator john mccain, the ranking
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member of the armed services committee and the i think longest-standing attendee at the congressional pig book press conferences. >> well, thank you, tom. and thank you for your continued efforts and leadership and i would like to also thank my colleagues who are with me here today, who not only oppose earmarks and wasteful and pork barrel spending but also take a very active role in opposing these kinds of earmarks and spending that results in corruption. our good friend senator tom coburn, who is not here today, says -- often said, and we have used his line, that earmarks are the gateway drug to corruption in washington. and we have seen that happen. we've seen that happen. so i am very grateful for my colleagues' efforts. for the efforts to have a permanent ban on earmarks. and if you think we are out of
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the woods because of the reductions in earmark spending, look at the vote in the united states senate that tom just referred to. 40-59. 59 members of the united states senate still would like to see the earmarks come back. they would like to see bloated highway bills with pork barrel projects in them. they would like to see -- my all-time favorite was the $50,000 to study the effect on the ozone layer of flatulence in cows. we can see that come back. so i want to congratulate my colleagues. it's not easy. it's not easy when a constituent or an important part of the economy comes stou and says we need this small amount of additional money and if you'll just write a letter or if you'll just insert it in the appropriations bill then we will be able to create jobs, ta-da, ta-da, ta-da. so it takes some courage to
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stand up. and i'm happy to see that so many of my colleagues have followed their lead. but the fact is there's always conversations about, well, we can't pass a highway bill because we haven't got enough earmarks in them? isn't that a damning indictment of the mindset of members of congress, that we can't pass a bill unless we pay people off? so tom, i thank you for and appreciate your efforts. i just want to mention one area that still goes on of earmarks. and that obviously is the defense authorization and appropriations bills. there are earmarks in the authorization bill as well as the appropriations bill. and why is it that i worry about that? because obviously as tom mentioned it's the willie sutton syndrome. when they asked him why he robbed banks, he said, well, that's where the money is. well, the money is in the defense appropriations bills as
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well. and a great example of that is $120 million for three earmarks of $40 million each for a, quote, alternative energy research. alternative energy research. we're talking about cutting the army by 100,000 people, the marines by 80,000 people, and yet we now have our armed services in the business of advanced alternative energy research? the navy has led the parade. they spent in excess of $400 per gallon for about 20,000 gallons of algae-based biofuel. the role of the armed forces of the united states is not to engage in energy resource -- research. the job of energy research should be in the energy department, not taking it out of defense department funds. so tom, thanks. i'm not sure how many of the 21 years that you have been doing this i've been able to attend,
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but i think most of them. i thank my colleagues, and i want to again reiterate, tom, your reward for this work will be in heaven, not here on earth. thank you very much. >> thank you, senator. next we have senator jim demint, who has been leading this effort very strongly, both when he was in the house and now of course in the senate. >> thank you, tom. thank you, tom. and citizens against government waste for years of work. it's a testament that persistence and really longsuffering can actually change the way things are done in washington. i particularly want to thank john mccain, who has been i think a lot of our inspiration to take this on and to see in the last year and a half actually get a temporary ban on earmarks. it was something that so many people said could never be done. we'd also been told for years that earmarks had nothing to do with passing big over-budget bills.
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but as soon as they were suspended, suddenly these big bills have more difficulty going through. and as john said, they've been used for years, and we all knew it, to bribe, to sweeten, to get bills through. and we find that a lot of the bipartisanship here in washington is really all about spending. and as long as we can spend money, republicans and democrats work together. if we can hand out the candy. we've stopped that temporarily. but tom, you know they're going to try in the next probably few weeks to redefine what an earmark is. instead of fixing how we do tariff suspensions. fixing that process. they want to redefine an earmark so that they can do it. instead of fixing how the corps of engineers works, which we could do and make it work better for the american people, they want to bring back earmarks to direct the corps. the same with the transportation
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bill. we know over half of the senate and probably over half of the house wants to bring back earmarks. so unless all of the american people continue to be engaged, and make no mistake, the only reason earmarks were banned temporarily, is because americans found out about it, particularly through citizens against government waste. they were against it. and candidates in the last cycle ran for banning earmarks. and when they came in they voted that way. we bought rid of them. but now they've all been in washington for a while. it's going to be just a little bit harder to keep it that way. so hopefully we can get a new group coming in this cycle who campaigns on banning earmarks permanently as pat toomey, jeff flake, and others have tried to do. so i want to thank my colleagues and citizens against government waste. we've made some progress. but we can't let up. we've got to push it across the finish line. >> thank you, senator. nx we have senator pat toomey, who again carried over his
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opposition to earmarks from the house to the senate and again as the republican sponsor of the earmark elimination act. >> thank you, tom. and i also want to congratulate you and cagw as well as my colleagues who were standing here today who've been champions in this battle. i think it's fair to say that seldom do we have this much progress on such a challenging issue in washington as we've had in dramatically reducing the volume and the cost of earmarks. 98% reduction is really serious progress. and i think we ought to celebrate that. but of course the previous speakers are exactly right. that celebration can't allow us to overlook the fact that our work is not done. there is every effort under way to resume this process, as we've heard, and it's absolutely true that the problem of earmarks goes well beyond the several hundred billion dollars in earmarks that have been identifies in recent years but it actually is the grease that
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skids the path for bloated spending of all kinds. so i do think that a permanent ban is necessary. the legislation that i drafted would accomplish that by allowing any individual senator to go down to the senate floor and offer a point of order against a particular earmark in any given bill. it wouldn't take down the whole bill. it would allow him or her to strike the offending earmark. and it would require a 2/3 vote by the senate to override that earmark. now, it's hard to get 2/3 of the members of the senate to agree that this is april. so i think it creates a very high hurdle, which is exactly what we ought to do. i for one am actually somewhat optimistic that we got the 40 votes. certainly it's not the outcome that we need and that we want. but it is progress. and this is the kind of thing that i think will require multiple votes. it's going to require input from
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constituents. the american people are overwhelmingly massively with us on this. they understand what a terrible process earmarking is and how it leads to other very bad outcomes. so i think if we stay at this, tom, and thanks largely to your leadership, i think we're going to go from 98% success to 100% success and make it permanent, and i'm going to stay in that fight. thanks very much. >> thank you, senator toomey. next we have congressman jeff flake, who we hope to continue to see up here. he is again another long-standing attendee, stalwart supporter for the elimination of earmarks and the republican sponsor of the toomey version of the bill in the house. >> thank you, tom. thank you, citizens against government waste. obviously, we wouldn't be celebrating what we are today without their efforts. over the years it's been an interesting process. i think on the house floor i've
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challenged some, well, several hundred individual earmarks. and do you know how many of those votes we won actually outright on the floor? one. just one. it was a republican earmark. and the other party hated that republican more than they loved their earmarks i guess on this one. so it actually went down. but a funny thing started happening, though. members would actually find out which earmarks were being challenged, and they would rush to the floor to beat us there so they could withdraw their earmark rather than defend it. and then you had the bridge to nowhere and the corruption that came with it. and then my personal favorite where i kind of knew this process was going to come crashing down. i had challenged previously the earmark for the punxsutawney weather museum in punxsutawney, pennsylvania. and the sponsor of that earmark that the we'll show them how vital this earmark is. so the mayor of punxsutawney came with his top hat and his rodent, phil, and had a press
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conference. and at the appropriate time they pulled phil out from behind the podium just like the stump. unfortunately, phil's bladder problem made it so they had to go back pretty quickly. but i thought what a spectacle. and if people didn't know how out of control this process was, they certainly knew it then. so i'm glad to be where err. but senator mccain has mentioned and pat and others, we've got to go much further. pat toomey has introduced a great piece of legislation. i'm happy to co-sponsor it, or be the sponsor in the house to make this ban permanent. and another thing we need to do as well is we control the power of the purse. and where the earmarkers pretend that that means we have the ability and should have the constitutional right to earmark, what it means is we should provide oversight on how the federal agencies spend money. if we don't think they're spending it correctly, we rein them in, we establish the parameters in which money is spent. it doesn't mean that we look and
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see their abuses and pile on spending abuses of our own. and that's what the earmarking process came to be. so thank you again to citizens against government waste. and let's keep pushing until we can make this permanent. >> thank you, congressman flake. i do need to interject, however, that one of the most enjoyable occasions during all these years of examining earmarks is when we made punxsutawney phil the porker of the month. next we have congressman jim jordan, who is chairman of the republican study committee and another stalwart supporter of the elimination of earmarks. >> thank you. just go back five years ago. i was sworn into congress in january 2007. and if someone would have predicted that day that five years down the road that both the house and senate would have a ban on earmarks, democrat controlled house, republican controlled house no one would have predicted that. that's a testament to tom and the folks at citizens against
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government waste. i want to commend everyone in this effort and particularly senator toomey and soon to be senator flake for their work on this earmark ban. and as jeff said, we need to hold the agencies accountable, and i just want to highlight one program that's driving me crazy, and it's driving the american taxpayers crazy. and senator mccain referenced this. relative to alternative energy forms. what's gone on right now in the department of energy is unbelievable. in this loan guarantee program, 27 of -- 27 companies got your tax dollars. 23 of those companies had ratings of double b minus from fitch and standard & poor's, which is another way of saying they were junk rated. no private money would go there. and yet it was okay to put american taxpayer dollars into these organizations. and 8 of those 23 companies had close ties to the obama administration. so while we have to focus on earmarks, we have got to do exactly what congressman flake talked about and hold these agencies accountable for the goofy spending and the goofy
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programs that ner promoting. and i know that tom and his organization will be on top of that effort as well. i just want to commend everyone involved in this effort and celebrate the progress that we are beginning to make. and with that i'll yield back. >> thank you, congressman jordan. and of course we are well aware that earmarks are not the only examples of wasteful spending. plenty of work to do when they're hopefully eliminated. next we have dr. tom price who is the chairman of the republican policy committee. >> thanks, tom. and thanks so much for the incredible work that cagw has done over the last 21 years to make this book small. i remember when i was in the state senate this book was a different shape but it was also a whole lot thicker. and if you look at these charts over here, you'll see that this is the least number of earmarks that have been put forward in congress where we've had a press conference to celebrate. so we ought to be celebrating for a very short period of time
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the decrease in number and the smallness of the book. but public policy is a process. and something changed there. if you think about what happened, the leadership in the house of representatives changed. and so i want to commend the leadership in the house and my colleagues in the house of representatives for making certain that this is the slope of the graph that we see beside us here this morning. but public policy is a process, which doesn't mean it has to stay down there. so the work of cagw and the incredible work of my colleagues in the house and those who are supportive in the senate and the american people who are demanding accountability and transparency when it comes to spending and are demanding that we not load up larger pieces of legislation so that they can get passed as other individuals have referenced this morning. so i'm pleased to be back at this press conference, tom. i look forward to


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