TomPaine.com Published: Nov 12 2003
Chellie Pingree, President of Common Cause and former majority leader of the Maine Senate, is the author of Maine Rx,
a landmark program to reduce prescription drug costs in that state.
terms of sheer size, the $87 billion Iraq spending bill recently approved by Congress is the nation痴 largest ever for
war, bigger than the budgets of the Homeland Security and Education Departments combined. With so much at stake, you would
think that Congress would have done all it could to ensure that these tens of billions of dollars are scrupulously monitored
and wisely spent, with no opportunity for waste, fraud or abuse.
But you would be wrong. While the Iraq spending bill
makes some modest progress on accountability, House and Senate leaders who negotiated the final
bill eliminated or weakened more stringent reform measures passed by their colleagues in both chambers. And given the influence
of the White House on the final bill, one could reasonably conclude that the Bush administration was wary of many of the accountability
measures that Congress originally intended to require. ...
Stripped From The Bill
Consider the reform measures that never made it into the
GAO audits. ...
Competitive bidding on oil contracts. ...
Penalties for war profiteers. ...
And even when House and Senate negotiators did see their way clear to approving reform provisions, what
they approved was often flawed. ...
Why the White House and key Republican leaders would be opposed to more
accountability for this huge spending bill is hard to understand. But we at Common Cause will continue to monitor
the spending in Iraq, to work in coalition with other groups to press the government to report what it is doing fully and