Murtha To Cut Funds For Iraq Contractors To Force Pentagon’s Hand

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"Murtha To Cut Funds For Iraq Contractors To Force Pentagon’s Hand"

Today, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other House leaders held a press briefing to announce their Iraq war spending plan, which would redeploy U.S. forces out of Iraq by August 2008 at the latest. More details HERE.

Another provision of the bill was detailed by Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), chairman of the defense spending subcommittee. Murtha explained that the Pentagon has repeatedly stonewalled information about the role of private contractors in Iraq. “I asked the Under Secretary of Defense. He says, ‘I’ll let you know tomorrow.’ We’ve never gotten an answer back,” Murtha said.

Now, Murtha says, both the Government Accountability Office and the Special Inspector General for Iraq have come to him and said, “Help us get a handle on the contractors.” So Murtha is going to play hardball. “[W]e took five percent of their money out, and that’s about $800 million. We also fenced 10 percent of their money. We want answers about whether these contractors — how much it costs us, how many we have, and how the contracts are being, are being given to these various organizations.” Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/03/mrthcont.320.240.flv]

Also today, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is marking up the Accountability in Contracting Act, which would require federal agencies to limit the use of abuse-prone contracts and increase transparency and accountability in federal contracting.

Transcript:

MURTHA: Contractors. When I was in Iraq with the Speaker, the contractors [were] falling all over themselves. I asked the GAO and the Inspector General, how many contractors we have. I asked the Under Secretary of Defense. He says, ‘I’ll let you know tomorrow.’ We’ve never gotten an answer back. GAO and Inspector General of Iraq said, ‘Help us get a handle on the contractors.’ So we took five percent of their money out, and that’s about $800 million. We also fenced 10 percent of their money. We want answers about whether these contractors — how much it costs us, how many we have, and how the contracts are being, are being given to these various organizations.

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