"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Coburn Exposes Congress’ War on Oversight; Appropriators Target Taxpayer Watchdog

Yesterday Rick Perry submitted his plan, Uproot and Overhaul Washington , and today Dr. Coburn released his report, Shooting the Messenger:  Congress Targets the Taxpayers' Watchdog.  Both the Governor and the Senator are advocates of a leaner Government, more efficient spending of our tax dollars, and less intrusion in our daily lives.

Remember when the Senate determined that Dr. Coburn had to not only give up his medical practice but they wouldn't even let him volunteer his time?  Dr. Coburn has pledged to serve 12 years and no more and was handily reelected in 2010.  Dr. Coburn is our Oklahoma citizen legislator who is not afraid to upset the apple cart and ruffle feathers on both sides of the aisle for the American taxpayers.  Like Governor Perry, the establishment hates him and tried their best to keep him out of the Senate in 2004 but the Oklahoma Grassroots wasn't going to let that happen.  Both have the same nemesis:  Karl Rove who has tried to defeat both Perry and Coburn as they didn't fit the establishment mold.

It hit me when I saw Dr. Coburn's report --Why not have a Perry/Coburn ticket and shake the foundations of the both political parties and their establishment members?  That would give Karl Rove and other consultants he controls nightmares.  Both sides of the aisles include detractors of Dr. Coburn and now Governor Perry.

The outcry by the members of Congress like the #2 Senate House Leader Stenny Hoyer against the Perry plan made me laugh when I saw the Governor's reply:
Gov. Perry said, “I guarantee you I got their attention today when I talked about reforming the legislative branch of government by making it a part-time citizen Congress. When people like Steny Hoyer come out there and go, ‘Is this guy being serious?’ Yeah, you better believe it Steny. Americans are serious. They’re serious about the spending that’s going on. They’re serious about insider trading that it’s obvious Congressional men and women are involved with – and things that if a private citizen did they’d send you to the penitentiary.” 
Gov. Perry continued, “It’s not a surprise to me when I laid out this fundamental reform that I talk about and ask the American people to consider a part-time citizen Congress, that career politicians like Steny Hoyer don’t like my plan to overhaul Washington. They’re making a great living up there. The Washington metropolitan area is the most affluent in this country because you have all the inside trading and frankly the corruption and the contracting that’s going on. … Yeah, Washington and the Washington metropolitan area is doing really well, at our expense I might add.”
Perry hit a raw nerve with a lot of members of Congress and now Coburn is doing the same thing.  They would truly be the ticket of the US taxpayers, the grassroots, and reformers of Government who are not afraid to lead with bold new ideas some of which go back to our founding fathers who never could have envisioned lifelong members of Congress serving term after term with no outside jobs allowed.

The more I think about a Perry/Coburn ticket the more I like the idea.  That combination may be just what is needed to fix a very broken Federal Government where spending is out of control and at times looks like Congress and the White House are being run by lobbyists.  How many bills are written by lobbyists and special interest groups on both sides of the aisle?  Time for a drastic change as to the way the Federal Government does business when there has not been a Senate budget passed starting in the fall of 2007 as they use continuing resolutions to fund the Government.

The ticket to shake-up DC:  Perry/Coburn 2012

The Coburn report shows IMHO that a lot of members of Congress do not want a watchdog look at bills they pass and the cost involved:
October 16, 2011

Coburn Exposes Congress’ War on Oversight; Appropriators Target Taxpayer Watchdog
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today released a new report “Shooting the Messenger: Congress Targets the Taxpayers’ Watchdog” showing that while Congress is steadily losing its ability to conduct effective oversight, it has simultaneously been cutting off resources of its own investigative agency: the Government Accountability Office (GAO). This report outlines how GAO continues to do more with less while Congress is doing less with more and demonstrates the cuts proposed by the House and Senate are misdirected. 
“Just this year GAO identified hundreds of billions of dollars of duplicative and overlapping programs that, if addressed by Congress, could both save money and improve services for taxpayers. For every $1 spent on GAO, the agency provides $90 in savings recommendations. Yet, instead of adopting these good government reforms, the Senate Appropriations Committee has responded by proposing dramatic budget cuts to the GAO budget. 
“There is no question every government program and agency, including GAO, must be thoroughly examined for savings to address our unprecedented fiscal challenges. Congress has proved incapable of finding answers to the debt crisis and now it is threatening to muzzle those who can. If the mission of GAO is compromised by excessive cuts, where else can Congress turn to find unbiased data to improve programs and save money?” Dr. Coburn said. 
Key points highlighted in the report:
• Since 1992, GAO’s workforce has been cut by 40%, or more than 2,000 people, and its budget has been cut by 13% (inflation-adjusted dollars).
• Current budget proposals would cut GAO further by between 6.4% (House) and 7.6% (Senate). GAO believes its workforce will dip below 3,000 for the first time in its history. 
• In the last decade, Congress has increased its own budget from a combined $1.2 billion to $2.3 billion, increasing nearly twice as fast as inflation. 
• Since the beginning of the decade, House staff has increased by 9% and Senate staff has increased by 24%. 
Additional highlights showing Congress is doing less oversight than it used to: 
• Over the last 30 years, the number of Congressional oversight hearings held each session has decreased by about one-quarter from 4,000 to less than 3,000.
• The Senate spent more than 200 hours in “quorum calls” – a parliamentary “time out” – during 2009, and more than one-third of its time in 2011.  
• Ninety-six percent of all legislation passed without a roll call vote in the 111th Congress – the highest percentage of any session the last fifteen years. 
Read the full report: here.


 GAO Chart from Huffington Post Article on Report Slams Congress For Attacking Its Own Budget-Saving Watchdog

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