Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Ford Calls For Disaster Spending Oversight

Following the release of government records detailing disaster relief contracts for the Gulf Coast, Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. released the following statement:

"The more than $62 billion that Congress has allocated to the Gulf Coast relief effort must go to the people who need it most. But with little oversight of federal spending, we are in danger of handing this money over to contractors with little or no accountability at the expense of the victims of these storms.

"That is why I call on the administration to cease immediately any new awards of federal relief contracts until a chief financial officer is appointed to oversee the system. Such a person must have final power and authority over all aspects of financial relief spending, including the power to void no-bid contracts. We should award contracts to companies who can do the job in the quickest, most effective and most efficient manner, rather than to companies who have political connections.

"Government records show that no-bid contracts account for 80 percent of the $1.5 billion in contracts signed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. And many of these contracts are going to companies outside the Gulf Coast. If we are serious about helping the people of the Gulf Coast rebuild their economy, then we ought to award more contracts to companies located in the affected region so that Gulf Coast residents can get back to work.

"Government needs to move quickly and efficiently to help the people of the Gulf Coast rebuild following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. But throwing money at the problem is not the answer. We have already seen the kind of waste, fraud and abuse that such mismanagement can cause with $9 billion in reconstruction funds still unaccounted for in Iraq. We cannot afford to make the same mistake in the Gulf Coast."

Comments: Once again Congressman Harold Ford Jr. is at the forefront of the battle on behalf of the American people. As noted in the release above, Congressman Ford wants to make sure the money that is being spent and will be spent will be going to the people that need it the most, not politically friendly cronies through no bid contracts.

This press release also further affirms the fiscally conservative ideas of Congressman Harold Ford Jr. As noted in the release above, Congressman Ford's record of being a fiscal conservative is well documented.

For example, Ford has never supported a budget that was not balanced and is a co-sponsor of a constitutional amendment that would require the government to balance its budget, except in times of war.

In fact, just recently on while appearing on CNBC's Squawk box, Conservative Republican Congresswoman Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen praised Congressman Ford's fiscal record: "Well I congratulate Harold, because he really is one of the more conservative and I would say level headed members of his party. He is a fiscal watchdog, he wants to make sure we don’t raid the coffers for when we really need it like in emergencies like this one (hurricane relief)."

Harold Ford Jr. has made his views clear on these all important issues that lie before us. However, his Republican counterparts have yet to say one word in regards to the cronyism taking place or their ideas on how to pay for the reconstruction efforts in the Gulf. Once again, their silence speaks volumes.

Real problems call for real solutions and Harold Ford Jr. understands that.