WASHINGTON – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD), a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, successfully amended the 2004 Iraq Supplemental Appropriations bill today in the full House Committee mark-up to require greater accountability on such areas as the money spent and progress made in Iraq and Afghanistan and the effect the war is having on our troops and readiness, as well as language requiring advanced review of the awarding of no-bid contracts. Congressman Hoyer released the following statement regarding his amendments:
“Failure in Iraq is not an option – but neither is spending $200 billion of taxpayer money without accountability and oversight.
“The Bush Administration must be held accountable for what we are asking the American people to pay for, because it is – as the president is fond of saying – their money that we are spending.
“By passing my amendment today, we dramatically increased the accountability attached to this enormous amount of taxpayer money that we are poised to spend. Without these additions Congress would have shirked its responsibility on behalf of the American people to oversee how and how effectively their money is spent.
"We also went a long way to preventing war profiteering, the despicable practice of making exorbitant amounts of money off the needs of troops and civilians, as well as the waste, fraud and abuse that often occurs when money is spent rapidly, by requiring advanced review of no-bid contracts. There have already been serious questions raised about billion dollar no-bid contracts going to Vice President Cheney's former employer Halliburton, from which he is continuing to receive compensation.
“Today, we simply followed the Constitution, by guaranteeing Congressional oversight of the taxpayer’s money. I have a feeling that most Americans appreciate what we did by adding these requirements.”
Congressman Hoyer offered an amendment to increase accountability in war spending in numerous areas and a second amendment to force seven days advanced review of no-bid contracts instead of after-the-fact review (up to 30 days after the awarding of no-bids contracts). House Appropriations Committee Chairman Young and Foreign Operations Subcommittee Chairman Kolbe supported both amendments and they were passed on voice vote.
The Bush Administration will now be required to provide quarterly reports to Congress on the following issues:
- A full accounting of all appropriated funds expended during the previous quarter for military operations and reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- An update on progress of reconstruction efforts within Iraq and Afghanistan, in such areas as public safety, energy and transportation infrastructure, and medical services.
- Progress being made to reduce the attacks on American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.Analysis of the impact the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have had on overall readiness of the United States military.
- Analysis of the impact the current troop deployment has had on recruiting and retention in the National Guard and Reserves.
- Expected cost of repairing or replacing the combat vehicles, aircraft and other equipment damaged or destroyed by prolonged exposure to the extreme conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Progress being made toward holding free and fair elections in Iraq.
- Level of international participation in planning for the stabilization and rebuilding of Iraq.
- Report on the number of troops and amount of financial assistance the Administration has secured from the international community during the previous quarter.