DC Report: Coburn lectures on duplication
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Sunday, February 03, 2013
2/03/13 at 3:17 AM
Sen. Tom Coburn said last week that federal spending could be cut by as much as $2 trillion over 10 years just from the elimination of duplicative programs.
"The greatest nation in the world is incompetent when it comes to management of its bureaucracy, its programs and its money," Coburn said during a 40-minute presentation on the Senate floor.
Coburn said the speech was the first of several he intends to give over the next two weeks showing "where we are in terms of stupidity and duplication."
Among Coburn's examples were the 94 "green building" programs administered by 20 different federal agencies at a total cost of $1 billion. Coburn seemed particularly vexed that several of the programs were under the Transportation Department.
"Why don't we have a Green Building Department and have just one (department in charge of green buildings)?" he said.
Coburn said he will take on health care and the Defense Department, among others, in coming weeks.
"Republicans have a blind eye to the waste in the Department of Defense," he said.
Coburn referred to the "swinging revolving door for retired military officers to the very companies that end up getting the contracts to pay the salaries to keep going on (weapons systems) that might not be a priority."
Coburn switches committees: Coburn changed two of his committee assignments for the coming session, giving up his spots on Judiciary and Financial for Banking and Intelligence.
He remained on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, where he is now ranking member.
Cole appointed: Fourth District Congressman Tom Cole has been appointed to the Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents by U.S. House Speaker John Boehner.
"The Smithsonian Institution is an invaluable national resource for education and historic preservation," Cole said. "Millions of visitors to Washington, D.C., have enjoyed free access to Smithsonian museums and benefitted from the opportunity to learn more about our national and natural history by viewing the institution's remarkable collection of artifacts.
"It's an honor to serve this distinguished organization, and I look forward to working with the Board of Regents to continue the Smithsonian Institution's prestigious legacy."
Inhofe criticized: Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank hammered U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe over the Oklahoma Republican's treatment of former colleagues Chuck Hagel and John Kerry last week.
"If this is how Jim Inhofe treats his friends," Milbank wrote, "one shudders to think what he does to his enemies."
Milbank pointed out that Inhofe called both Hagel and Kerry "good friends," then publicly ripped into them. Inhofe was one of three senators to vote against Kerry's confirmation as secretary of state and began Hagel's confirmation hearing for secretary of defense with a litany of reasons why he couldn't vote for the former Republican senator from Nebraska.
Milbank's underlying contention was that Inhofe's statements indicated he would not vote for anyone committed to carrying out the polices of President Obama, which effectively meant he would vote against any Obama appointment.