DEBATE ON SCOTT AMENDMENT NO. 347, TO NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2020

July 11, 2019
Floor Statements

 Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Madam Chair, I rise in support of my amendment to H.R. 2500, which would require the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to Congress regarding the Department's progress implementing the 91 priority recommendations from the Comptroller General of the United States. I would like to thank my colleague Congresswoman BARBARA LEE for cosponsoring this amendment. I would also like to thank Chairman SMITH and the House Armed Services Committee for their work on this important legislation.

   The 91 priority recommendations in GAO-19-366SP report was sent to the Department of Defense to address major challenges in nine key areas: Acquisitions and Contract Management, Readiness, Building Capacity to Drive Enterprise-Wide Business Reform, Defense Headquarters, Health care, Cybersecurity, Infrastructure, Financial Management, and Preventing Sexual Harassment. These recommendations address challenges that affect the Department's ability to accomplish its mission.

   Every Congressional Black Caucus alternative budget for the past decade has made implementing GAO's recommendations a priority to encourage DoD to save taxpayer dollars and to be more prudent with the enormous amount of resources they are provided to defend our country. As we work to strengthen our nation's Armed Forces to counter threats from our adversaries, we must ensure that DoD roots out waste, fraud, and abuse within the agency. While DoD has successfully implemented some of the recommendations made by the GAO, there is more work to be done.

   Today, DoD faces new challenges in our national security with the rise of cyber crimes, international terrorism and nuclear threats. Our military has been stretched and exhausted from being involved in two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We should be doing everything we can to ensure that DoD funds are used to strengthen our national security.

   Each fiscal year, the Department is appropriated hundreds of billions of dollars and is the largest employer in the federal government. It is critical that DOD accounts for every dollar. The GAO report has 17 recommendations for financial management. GAO reports that DoD has failed to properly produce correct financial information. This is a serious problem for a Department that receives such a significant share of federal taxpayer dollars. Auditing the Pentagon and encouraging DoD to continue to implement the remaining GAO recommendations would lead to tens of billions in cost savings for taxpayers by bringing a culture of financial accountability to the Pentagon.

   Madam Chair, it is imperative that DoD address and implement the GAO's remaining priority recommendations. If cost is the issue that is preventing the implementation, the required report to Congress will outline the estimated funding needed to assist DOD with the implementation.

   I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this important amendment to ensure DoD's efficient use of taxpayer dollars.