WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of the IMPROVE Acquisition Act. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“America faces a massive budget challenge, which includes record debt brought on by eight years of Republican fiscal recklessness. The consequences of our dangerous budgetary situation are truly wide-ranging. We all know where America’s unsustainable path of debt leads: among other things, it leads to a dramatically diminished American role in the world. History has seen it time and again: great powers forced into retreat by unbearable debt.
“Democrats take that lesson seriously, which is why we’ve made fiscal responsibility such a priority under President Obama. We passed the PAYGO law, which ensures that Congress pays for what it buys. We passed a health insurance reform bill that significantly cuts the deficit. And President Obama has proposed a budget that freezes non-security discretionary spending, cuts the deficit by more than half by 2013, and cuts it by more than $1 trillion over the next decade.
“Americans need to know that every dollar in our budget is spent wisely and that none of them go to waste. Defense acquisition reform is part of that work—because defense spending accounts for nearly one-fifth of our federal budget. We took an important step last year when we passed, and the president signed, the Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act. Today, we can go a step further toward fiscally responsible defense spending, which still ensures that our troops can accomplish their missions.
“The IMPROVE Acquisition Act contains a number of important provisions to eliminate waste without compromising our military’s effectiveness. While last year’s acquisition reform went a long way toward eliminating waste in Major Defense Acquisition programs, this bill recognizes that more than 50% of the Defense Department’s procurement budget goes toward services contracts. As a result, the IMPROVE Acquisition Act requires rigorous accountability and clear standards for DoD’s acquisition of services. It creates a better-trained and more professional acquisitions workforce, which ultimately saves us money. And it brings more responsible financial management to the DoD.
“As Chairman Skelton, who worked so hard on this bill, put it: ‘this legislation will require DoD to adopt the basic management practices that are necessary for anything as complex as the acquisition system to function properly.’ And those practices will save taxpayers billions of dollars—while getting our troops the equipment and services they require sooner.
“Our position in the world is dependent on the brave efforts and sacrifices of our troops—but it also depends on our demonstrating more responsibility here at home. Our long-term security rests, to a great extent, on that challenge. We need a national conversation about balancing our budget, and this bill is an important part of achieving that larger goal. I urge my colleagues to support it.”