Speech Essay

397 Words2 Pages
Hello, this is Senator Barack Obama and today is Thursday, June 15, 2006. I want to talk to you guys today about Katrina. I know that we've had a number of discussions about the process of rebuilding and what's been happening and what hasn't been happening down in the Gulf. Some of you may recall that a while back that I introduced a piece of legislation that should be pretty straightforward. It essentially said that all Katrina reconstruction contracts in excess of $500,000 had to be competitively bid. This was prompted by news reports that enormous amounts of waste were taking place in the Katrina contracting process. You had multibillion dollar no-bid contracts for things as varied as debris removal or buying tarps to put on roofs, trailers for people who had been displaced. Many of these items had been purchased, or services had been purchased, at two or three or five times the typical market value and, obviously, any money that's wasted going to contractors is money that is coming out of taxpayers' pockets and not getting to the intended beneficiaries - the people who have been displaced as a consequence of the hurricane. So, myself and Tom Coburn (Republican from Oklahoma) introduced a very simple amendment in the Emergency Defense Supplemental. It essentially said that if there is going to be a contract of more than half a million dollars, it has to be competitively bid. The amendment passed 98 to 0; the entire Senate was unanimous. But, as some of you may not be aware, the way Washington works is a bill that passes in the Senate and a bill that passes in the House has to be reconciled in what is called a conference committee because there are going to be differences, potentially, between what's in the House version and the Senate version. Those have to be worked out in a conference of House members and Senate members. I wasn't on the conference committee;

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