Tuesday, March 17, 2009

McCaskill Questions Obama on Earmark Reform


Senator Claire McCaskill sends a letter to President Obama's budget director, asking how the administration plans to enforce its policy on private earmarks. The President has called for all private earmarks to be competitively bid. McCaskill wants to go an extra step, and has introduced a resolution to prohibit earmarks to private entities.
Her letter, to Peter Orszag, dated Monday, asks for a "better understanding of how the administration's reforms will be carried out."

"In particular, I would appreciate an explanation of the steps the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will be taking to enforce the new policy on private earmarks," writes McCaskill. "As you may know, the Department of Defense (DoD) has a legislative mandate to competitively bid earmarks in its annual appropriations bill, but this process appears to be regularly circumvented. I have, in fact, instructed my staff to begin an investigation into whether DoD’s competitive bidding requirement has been carried out in a meaningful way. How will you ensure that the president’s new rule will lead to real competition and accountability?"


McCaskill has also sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates requesting information all all Defense contracts in 2008 and 2009 that were awarded as a result of earmarks. She's asking Gates to produce the information to the Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight by Monday, April 6th.

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