Speaker Pelosi’s getting a bit of blow-back about her comments yesterday suggesting the spending freeze extend to defense spending. Now, I’m not about to defend her. Her intentions are obvious. She’s been weak on national defense her entire career and her lack of support for nearly all military operations (most notably her objection to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the surge in Iraq) betrays her real motives.
However, her comments were directed at freezing military spending on government contractors-private firms that contract with the US military on various projects. However irritating it is to hear Pelosi take a shot at the military, she is right about the issue–improper payments to contractors have indeed become a huge problem in the federal government.
There is an absolute fantastic amount of waste, fraud and abuse associated with these contracts. My old boss, Senator Tom Coburn, has for years sounded the alarm on improper payments to defense contractors (for instance, read Coburn’s recent letter to Secretary of Defense Gates asking why defense contractors under criminal investigation were able to obtain millions of dollars in work from the federal stimulus program). It’s a serious issue and it deserves serious consideration by Congress.
As such, nothing prevents the Speaker from making this one of her major legislative priorities in the next congress. She certainly doesn’t need government contracting to be part of the freeze in order to launch an investigation into improper payments or to encourage the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee to initiate meetings and hearings on the subject.
Doubtful this will happen which is too bad. There’s a lot of taxpayer money to be saved. Isn’t that the point of the freeze?