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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Coburn DHS Reports Amendment Wins Senate Approval



NEWS FLASH: Coburns' amendment requiring public posting of all DHS reports mandated by Senate Appropriations Committee was approved today by the Senate, accepted by unanimous consent.

Here is the key section of Coburn's floor statement on the need for the provision:

“There’s a directive that says they’re not to release it to the American public, that they’re only to release it to the Appropriations Committee.

"A little bit of experience this year when the President’s budget require came up and the justifications for it. As a U.S. Senator, it was unavailable to me, it was unavailable to my staff, it was unavailable to any staff except the Appropriations staff.

“They do a good job but justification for the request just like the senator from New Hampshire said is, we have the right of the purse strings. The House and Senate have the right to say where the money goes. And if we can’t have the justifications for why the president’s budget is so numbered and divided, then we won’t have the ability to defend that.

“In the committee report is this sentence: ‘The committee is deeply disappointed in the actions taken by the department to combine the reporting requirements of this committee with other reports and then release the results of those reports publicly prior to submission to the committee. The reports to the committee are not expected to be turned into publicity events again in the future.’

“Whose business is this? It is the American peoples’ business. It is not just the Appropriations Committee’s business and it is the other senators’ business and it is the other congressmens’ business.

“It is not just one committee’s business. They have the authority and the obligation to bring it to the floor, but the knowledge of what the president requests and the knowledge of the reports required by bills that we all vote on and coming back to the Congress should be shared with the American people.”

The above statement is taken from the unofficial transcript of the Senate proceedings.