[Congressional Record Volume 157, Number 73 (Wednesday, May 25, 2011)]
[Pages H3630-H3643]



               Amendment No. 41 Offered by Ms. Schakowsky

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 41 
printed in House Report 112-88.
  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. I would like to speak in favor of the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       At the end of subtitle F of title X, add the following new 


       (a) Freeze.--
       (1) In general.--Unless and until the requirement specified 
     in paragraph (2) is met for the entire Department of Defense, 
     except as provided in subsection (b), the aggregate

[[Page H3640]]

     amount of funds appropriated or otherwise made available for 
     military functions administered by the Department of Defense 
     (other than the functions excluded by subsection (c)) for a 
     fiscal year may not exceed--
       (A) in the case of fiscal year 2012, the aggregate amount 
     of funds appropriated or otherwise made available for 
     military functions administered by the Department of Defense 
     (other than the functions excluded by subsection (b)) for 
     fiscal year 2011; and
       (B) in each fiscal year after fiscal year 2012, the 
     aggregate amount of funds appropriated or otherwise made 
     available for such functions for the previous fiscal year.
       (2) Requirement for unqualified audit opinion.--The 
     requirement of this paragraph is that the Department of 
     Defense (including every major Pentagon component and every 
     major defense acquisition program of the Department) is 
     certified by the Inspector General of the Department of 
     Defense or an independent public accountant as achieving an 
     unqualified audit opinion.
       (b) Waiver.--The President may waive subsection (a) with 
     respect to a component or program of the Department if the 
     President certifies that applying the subsection to that 
     component or program would harm national security or members 
     of the Armed Forces who are in combat.
       (c) Exclusion of Overseas Contingency Operations and 
     Military Personnel Pay and Benefits.--In determining the 
     aggregate amount of funds appropriated or otherwise made 
     available for military functions administered by the 
     Department of Defense for fiscal year 2012 or any subsequent 
     fiscal year for purposes of subsection (a), there shall be 
     excluded all amounts appropriated or otherwise made 
       (1) in any supplemental appropriations Act; or
       (2) in any general appropriations Acts for--
       (A) overseas contingency operations;
       (B) military personnel, reserve personnel, and National 
     Guard personnel accounts of the Department of Defense, 
     generally title I of the annual Department of Defense 
     appropriations Act; and
       (C) wounded warrior programs of the Department of Defense.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 276, the gentlewoman 
from Illinois (Ms. Schakowsky) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Illinois.
  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself as much time as I may 
  For those who are interested in fiscal responsibility, this amendment 
would freeze Department of Defense spending until the Pentagon is able 
to pass an audit--able to pass an audit. This freeze could be waived by 
the President if it would harm our national security. And my amendment 
excludes spending for Wounded Warriors and defense personnel accounts 
as well as for overseas contingency operations.
  Though defense spending currently accounts for over 20 percent of our 
Federal budget, DOD remains one of the few Federal agencies unable to 
pass an independent audit. This leaves the Pentagon vulnerable to 
serious waste and fraud. A recent GAO review of selected major weapons 
systems found that $70 billion had been lost through waste, mainly due 
to ``poor management and execution problems.'' Tens of billions more 
have been paid to fraudulent contractors.
  I remember back in 2002, then-Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld admitted 
that he could not account for $2.3 trillion in Pentagon expenditures. 
For over two decades, the Pentagon has been under obligation to face an 
audit, and currently it must be auditable by September 2017. But recent 
status reports have raised serious concerns that this goal will not be 
  Waste and fraud in the Pentagon have serious consequences, both for 
our fiscal stability and our national security. My amendment provides a 
real incentive for the Pentagon finally to pass an audit. It is 
irresponsible to continue what Secretary Gates has called the gusher of 
defense spending without ensuring that we know where taxpayer dollars 
are going.
  I believe this is a commonsense idea. It is also a bipartisan one. My 
amendment is very similar to a proposal that Senator Coburn made to the 
National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform on which I also 
served last year. It is a constitutional requirement that ``a regular 
statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public 
money shall be published from time to time.'' Well, these are very 
difficult financial times, and we're faced with difficult choices and 
the prospect of cutting critical government programs. This accounting 
of funds has become more important than ever, including the Pentagon.
  I yield 1 minute of my remaining time to the gentlewoman from 
California, Barbara Lee.
  Ms. LEE. Mr. Chair, I rise in strong support of this very commonsense 
amendment. And I want to thank my colleague, Congresswoman Jan 
Schakowsky, who has been such a strong leader on sensible and serious 
deficit reduction efforts.
  This amendment is very similar to an amendment that I submitted to 
Rules. And I want to thank Congresswoman Schakowsky for continuing to 
move this forward, because it is just extremely important that the 
financial statements of the Defense Department be audited.
  Where are our defense dollars going? We have no idea. Sadly, the 
Department of Defense Inspector General and the GAO have documented 
time and time again the Department's inability to answer this very 
basic question. Some of my colleagues may make the argument the 
Department of Defense is making so much progress on this issue in 
response to congressional engagement requiring the records to be 
audited by September 2017, but this is too late. Billions of dollars 
are going out of the door each month.
  The American people deserve to know where our defense dollars are 
going. There can be no more blank checks and certainly no blank 
checkbook to be handed over to any President.
  I thank the gentlelady for yielding and for this very commonsense 
  Mr. FORBES. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Virginia is recognized for 5 
  Mr. FORBES. Mr. Chairman, first of all, I want to applaud the 
gentleladies for the amendment they have brought forward because they 
have hit a true problem with the Department of Defense. There is a 
statute requiring that the Department of Defense audit their financial 
records, and they have failed do that. They didn't do it in 2007, 
didn't do it in 2008, didn't do it in 2009, didn't do it in 2010. They 
are not going to do it this year. But this is part of a bigger problem.
  Mr. Chairman, one of the things that we have got to do for the 
national defense of this country, first of all, is determine what the 
true threat assessment is without having budgetary influences. The 
independent panel that reviewed our QDR has said that they are very, 
very concerned that our QDR, our defense strategies, are dictated more 
by the budget than they are by risk assessments. And I am proud of the 
fact that the chairman and the ranking member have fought very hard to 
make sure in this bill they have moved us in that direction.
  Secondly, we've got to determine the true cost of defending the 
country based on those risk assessments. And thirdly, we've got to 
determine what the risks are if we don't do it. And the fourth thing, 
as the gentlelady mentioned, we've got to know where our money is 
going, and right now we do not know that. But the unfortunate thing is 
this bill is just a bridge too far. It is a risky situation to begin 
cutting all of the funding from many of these operations and we are not 
cutting the missions.
  While I agree with the gentlelady's concern and think we need to work 
towards it, I am proud of the work that we have done in this committee 
this year to move that forward. I can assure the gentlelady we are 
going to continue to work to hold DOD's feet to the fire and to make 
sure they're accountable for the dollars they spend. The American 
taxpayers deserve that.
  But I hope we will reject this amendment because our men and women in 
uniform and the people of the United States also deserve to make sure 
we're doing everything possible to defend and protect this country, and 
I'm afraid this amendment would put that defense in jeopardy. For that 
reason, Mr. Chairman, I hope we will reject the amendment.
  I reserve the balance of my time.

                              {time}  1940

  The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman from Illinois has 1\1/2\ minutes 
  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Mr. Chairman, it seems to me, since we agree, that 

[[Page H3641]]

problem is that the Pentagon has never explained where its money is 
going, and because there are waivers within this, that anything 
declared in need of national defense, and we certainly take care of our 
troops, will be excluded from the legislation, that it is time, 
finally. It's not just the last year, the year before, the year before 
that. It's been about 20 years before the Pentagon itself has explained 
where all the money goes.
  And being such a huge part of our budget, it seems like now would be 
a good time, particularly because there are so many open doors left in 
this so that our national security and our troops are in no way 
jeopardized by my bill. I would really appreciate all of us being able 
to work together to make sure that the taxpayers know where this huge 
amount of money is going. The time is long overdue.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. FORBES. May I inquire as to how much time is remaining?
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Virginia has 3 minutes 
  Mr. FORBES. Mr. Chairman, the gentlelady makes a good point, it is 
past time this happened, but this is a very risky thing to do.
  One of the things, these waivers are limited. The second thing is, 
it's very difficult for the President to come in and make sure he is 
making all the appropriate waivers. This could jeopardize monies that 
we are spending for training, money that we are spending for modeling 
and simulation to forecast risk assessments that may hit the United 
States and where they hit the United States.
  I think we need to be very, very careful before we come in with a 
sledge hammer and begin hitting all of this funding across the board, 
that we make sure that we recognize we have a problem. But the key for 
us, Mr. Chairman, is to make sure we are very, very deliberate and very 
careful about how we address that problem.
  I think we have done it in this bill. I think we have done it in a 
bipartisan manner. It was 60-1 in the bill, and I think, Mr. Chairman, 
I hope that we will reject this avenue because I don't think we can 
afford to just go in and carte blanche cut off all the funding, as much 
as I may wish we could do that. I think it's dangerous for the American 
people and for the defense of the country. I hope, once again, we will 
defeat the amendment.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. May I ask how much time remains?
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman from Illinois has 30 seconds 
  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Vote ``yes.''
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. FORBES. I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentlewoman from Illinois (Ms. Schakowsky).
  The amendment was rejected.