I suppose it’s old news at this point that the Bush administration lied us into the Iraq war and that the cost of this mess will be fully realized by the next generation when Bush leaves office with the biggest budget deficit in U.S. history. And, while Democrats have been complaining for years about the GOP-led Congress abandoning its oversight of the executive branch’s wrongdoing, a vote that took place in the Senate last week shows how the Republican desire to ignore fraud and abuse extends right into killing legislation that would help stop defense contractors from ripping off the American people.
In an effort to stop companies like Halliburton and its subsidiaries from cheating our troops and stealing from Americans, Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), introduced S.AMDT.4230 and attached it to the Defense Authorization bill currently being debated in the Senate. The bill was intended to improve contracting “by eliminating fraud and abuse and improving competition in contracting and procurement.”
“I think when you are at war, when a massive quantity of money is being pushed out the door, that we ought to decide to get tough on those who would be engaged in war profiteering,” said Dorgan in fighting for his amendment last week. “I dare say that never in the history of this country has so much money been wasted so quickly. And, yes, there is fraud involved, there is abuse involved, and it is the case that there is a dramatic amount of taxpayers’ money that is now being wasted.”
Dorgan’s bill — cosponsored by 17 Democrats and called the Honest Leadership and Accountability in Contracting Act of 2006 — was tabled by a roll call vote of 55-43, effectively rejecting the amendment. Every single Senate Republican voted against the measure to make the contracting process honest and impose penalties on those who break the law.
And just what were the stern rules that the GOP didn?t think their buddies at Halliburton should have to live with? The text of the legislation spelled out that Bush and Cheney’s defense-contractor buddies would be in trouble if they did any of the following: Continue reading »