December 9, 2003 - Issue: Vol. 149, No. 176 — Daily Edition108th Congress (2003 - 2004) - 1st Session
INTRODUCING THE WAR PROFITEERING PREVENTION ACT OF 2003
(Extensions of Remarks - December 09, 2003)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Pages E2547-E2548] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] INTRODUCING THE WAR PROFITEERING PREVENTION ACT OF 2003 ______ HON. RAHM EMANUEL of illinois in the house of representatives Monday, December 8, 2003 Mr. EMANUEL. Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise with Representatives DeFazio, and DeLauro as original cosponsors to introduce the War Profiteering Prevention Act of 2003. This is an identical companion to legislation introduced by Senators Leahy, Clinton, Durbin and Feinstein. This bill closely resembles an amendment that I offered during consideration of the Iraq reconstruction bill. Unfortunately, the Rules Committee declined to allow debate on my amendment, which would have established tough criminal penalties for individuals who defraud the government involving contracts related to the war or reconstruction of Iraq. As the government begins to spend the roughly $20 billion appropriated for rebuilding Iraq, it is essential that we protect these funds from waste, fraud and abuse. To that end, the War Profiteering Prevention Act establishes a maximum criminal penalty of 20 years in prison and fines up to $1 million for war profiteers and cheats who exploit the postwar relief efforts. Unlike most nations where we send foreign aid, there is no functioning government in Iraq. While I believe the Coalition Provisional Authority is doing the best it can, it simply does not maintain the manpower necessary to adequately monitor reconstruction funds. Regrettably, a handful of politically connected corporations, including some with scandal-ridden business records, are taking advantage of this situation. While anti-fraud laws protect against wasteful spending here at home, there are no such laws prohibiting war profiteering overseas. In response, my bill criminalizes overcharging taxpayers for any good or service with the specific intent to excessively profit from reconstruction. The legislation also prohibits fraud [[Page E2548]] and false statements in any matter involving a contract. We need strong disincentives for those who defraud taxpayers. These controls must be in place now because criminal statutes cannot be applied retroactively. We cannot in good faith ask American families to sacrifice for postwar reconstruction and then allow so many others to unfairly profit at their expense. Mr. Speaker, we must send a clear message that cheating U.S. taxpayers is completely unacceptable and will not go unpunished. For these reasons, I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting the War Profiteering Prevention Act of 2003. ____________________