Blasts Democrats for ignoring the mounting crises impacting Americans’ daily lives
WASHINGTON—House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) today blasted Democrats for holding a recycled hearing while refusing to conduct meaningful oversight of the Biden Administration’s many failures impacting Americans’ daily lives.
At a hearing on “Price Gouging in Military Contracts: New Inspector General Report Exposes Excess Profit Obtained by TransDigm Group,” Ranking Member Comer underscored the committee already conducted a hearing on this matter with almost the exact same witnesses. He blasted Democrats for blaming and shaming one company for a systemic problem and emphasized the government must be more efficient and better steward taxpayer dollars. Ranking Member Comer concluded his remarks by calling on Democrats to instead focus on issues facing the American people, including the Biden Administration’s failed COVID response, the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, and inflation felt nationwide because of Democrats’ out of control spending.
Below are Ranking Member Comer’s remarks as prepared for delivery.
Thank you, Chairwoman Maloney.
And thank you to all the witnesses appearing virtually today.
We are again here today to do what Committee Democrats do best – ignore the failures of the Biden Administration.
This Committee steadfastly refuses to conduct meaningful oversight of the Biden Administration.
Last week, myself and Whip Steve Scalise sent a letter to Chairwoman Maloney and Chairman Clyburn requesting a hearing into serious issues, including:
- The surge of omicron;
- The lack of available testing;
- President Biden declining a plan to order millions of tests;
- Political influence at the CDC and FDA;
- CDC messaging failures;
- And President Biden abandoning his national plan.
I don’t need to remind my colleagues that more Americans have now died under President Biden than Trump.
These issues don’t even touch on the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, the origins of COVID-19, or the devastating inflation felt nationwide because of Democrats’ out of control spending.
Instead of focusing on any of these crises, we are here today to conduct a hearing that already happened.
We had this exact same hearing in 2019.
Not a similar hearing, the exact same one, with almost the exact same witnesses.
I know the Chairwoman is a big fan of recycling, but recycling hearings is new to me.
I agree the government needs to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars.
And I agree DOD should not be forced to pay exorbitant prices.
I don’t agree with attacking one company, that frankly followed the law.
The Inspector General concluded as much.
I can’t remember a company that got hauled in front of Congress for following the law. Now twice.
Further, I have serious concerns over the methodology of the report presented today.
Primarily, the arbitrary 15 percent profit ceiling designed by the IG.
The IG admits a regulatory or legal profit ceiling does not apply to any of the contracts analyzed in this report.
The IG says 15 percent should not be a benchmark for negotiating fixed price contracts.
And the IG does not advocate for a 15 percent profit ceiling for fixed price contracts.
Yet, that’s the standard they determined applied to TransDigm.
That is the definition of arbitrary.
We operate in a free-market economy. Profit ceilings are inherently un-American.
This report does highlight DOD struggles with inventory management.
So many of these contracts with TransDigm are low quantity and low value.
For some parts, there are even multiple orders for the same part in one year.
This is inefficient and undoubtedly leads to higher prices.
DOD is the largest purchaser in the United States and has massive buying power.
It can exercise it to avoid some of the issues we see today.
It can consolidate orders to ensure it is negotiating prices once instead of four or five times per year.
It can better leverage IT systems to forecast demand signals to know how many parts it needs to purchase.
And it can hold more parts in inventory to ensure there is not a last-minute scramble to order more.
All of these changes would be good for the taxpayer and the warfighter.
These are changes we should be focused on. Making the government more efficient.
What we should not discuss today, is placing more burdens on businesses.
Especially American businesses.
Because of the Biden economy, there are worker shortages in every sector.
Prices are skyrocketing.
The last thing needed is more burden and regulation.
If there are common sense reforms that can benefit the taxpayer and not unnecessarily burden business or slow down the procurement, we are happy to discuss them.
I hope this hearing will be productive and include questions about how DOD can improve some of these problems.
I also hope my colleagues will not resort to shaming one company for what is a systemic issue.
There are major issues facing Americans right now.
We should be focused on driving down prices, increasing access to COVID tests, therapeutics and treatments, and holding the Biden Administration accountable for a series of failures.
Not disparaging one company.
Thank you and I yield back.
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Author: Chris Okey