Blue Dogs Reiterate Call for Increased Fiscal Accountability in Iraq

Jul 31, 2007
Press Release
SIGIR Report, Testimony Highlight Continued Waste of Taxpayer Dollars in Reconstruction Efforts

Tuesday, the fiscally conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition called for House consideration of H.Res. 97, a measure which demands increased fiscal accountability in the funding of the war in Iraq, following a quarterly report issued by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).  Inspector General Stuart Bowen submitted testimony to the House Budget Committee Tuesday detailing the report, which describes the continued mismanagement of contracts and waste of taxpayer dollars in Iraq.

The Blue Dogs introduced H.Res. 97, “Providing for Operation Iraqi Freedom Cost Accountability,” at the beginning of the 110th Congress and since then have repeated their call for increased accountability, honesty and transparency in the funding of the war in Iraq.  H.Res. 97 calls for future funding of the Iraq war to be done through the normal appropriations process, demands greater responsibility of the Iraqis for their own security, and creates a Truman Commission to investigate the awarding of contracts and to look into reports of war profiteering.

“Like others before it, the recent report issued by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction details continued and egregious abuses of taxpayer dollars in the funding of the war in Iraq,” said Congressman Mike Ross (D-AR), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Communications.  “The Blue Dogs are committed to restoring fiscal accountability in all areas of government, especially where our soldiers are concerned.  The implementation of H.Res. 97 is a real step toward accomplishing this goal.”

“This report clearly demonstrates that waste, fraud and abuse continues to run rampant in Iraq reconstruction efforts,” said Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA).  “While American troops are putting their lives on the line to secure and rebuild Iraq, American contractors are undermining our troops by cutting corners and leaving projects unfinished.  And American taxpayers are paying the tab while contractors make millions.  We must bring accountability back to all government spending, and Iraq is no exception.”

At a House Budget Committee hearing Tuesday, Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Assistant Director for Budget Analysis Robert Sunshine testified that the Department of Defense is currently obligating more than $9 billion per month for operations in Iraq alone.  At the same hearing, Inspector General Stuart Bowen issued testimony highlighting the most recent SIGIR quarterly report to Congress which identifies the waste of taxpayer dollars in the reconstruction effort and the need for adequate government oversight of contractors in Iraq.

“This latest report shows that even though American taxpayers are sending billions of dollars to Iraq, the Iraqi government is still unable to take control of construction and security.  We need to know exactly where our tax dollars are going,” said Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA).  “We’ve spent four years and four months in Iraq and still, the Iraqis are sitting on the sidelines.  American taxpayers are tired of waiting for results and this common-sense legislation will deliver some much-needed answers.”

“The Blue Dogs have sent a clear message to the Administration that they must better use taxpayer money for our efforts in Iraq,” said Congressman Baron Hill (D-IN).  “In fact, this resolution imposes sanctions against contractors who engage in fraudulent activity and creates a committee to oversee spending.  We will not continue on the current path of allowing the Administration to spend so much money in Iraq with little regard to the strain this is putting on our economy.”

The recent SIGIR report follows in a long line of damaging reports which detail the continued and egregious abuses in the government’s funding of the war in Iraq.  Inadequate facilities and non-functioning equipment built by highly paid contractors, insufficient monitoring of government contracts, and billions of dollars unaccounted for due to inefficiencies and bad management are just a few of the examples of waste, fraud and abuse detailed in previous reports.