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Senate Proceeding on Mar 11th, 2009 :: 5:41:35 to 5:55:35
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James Webb

5:41:35 to 5:41:55( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: a senator: madam the presiding officer: the senato recognized. mr. webb: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. webb: i ask consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without obje mr. webb: thank you, madam president. i'd like to speak on two matters today. the first is with respect to a

James Webb

5:41:35 to 5:55:35( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: James Webb

James Webb

5:41:56 to 5:42:16( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: piece of legislation that i've just introduced, and the other is colleagues consider a different element in this ongoing debate about earmarks. first, i have just introduced

James Webb

5:42:17 to 5:42:38( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: bill that will create a perpetual purple i can't think of any other stamp or any other area for a perpetual stamp that is more deserving than recognizes sacrifice on the battlefield.

James Webb

5:42:39 to 5:42:59( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: the original cosponsors of this legislation are senators brown, vitter, wicker, boxer, and ben nelson of nebraska. the purple heart is the continually authorized united states military deck -- decoration. it was created as military merit by george

James Webb

5:43:00 to 5:43:20( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: washington in 1782. the original purple hearts were awarded to three soldiers in the continental army who had shown outstanding courage during the revolutionary war. in 1931, army chief of staff douglas macarthur commissioned work on a new design for the purple heart to coincide with the then-upcoming 200th anniversary of president

James Webb

5:43:21 to 5:43:42( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: washington's birth. and president hoover's war department authorized the award for wounds received by army personnel in action or for meritorious service dating back to world war i. and on the 22nd of february 1932, general macarthur became

James Webb

5:43:43 to 5:44:04( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: its first recipient. in december of 1942, the purple heart was extended to all branches of the service, but the criteria were then strictly limited to those we know which is to be awarded to those who are wounded combat, direct combat with the enemies of the united states. more than 1.7 million ameri

James Webb

5:44:05 to 5:44:26( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: of everyace, color, creed and from all the purple heart in honor of their sacrice on our nation's this is the only united states military decoration for which there is no recommendation. it is simply earned through bloodshed for our country. in 2003, the postal service

James Webb

5:44:27 to 5:44:50( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: honored the recipients of this award by commissioning a first-class purple heart stamp in a ceremony at the home of george washington in mount vernon, virginia. the image used for this stamp is a photograph of one of the two purple hearts received by marine lieutena fowler of alexandria, virginia,

James Webb

5:44:51 to 5:45:13( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: which he received in 1968 as a battalion commander near the bin hi river in south 2003, first class purple heart stamps have been sold, an average of 200 million a year, at the new first-class rate of 44 cents,

James Webb

5:45:14 to 5:45:36( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: that which is taking place in may, that is approximately $88 million a year in revenue for the un this yearly sales rate is equal to or greater than the sales of even the most popular commemorative stamps issued during that time period.

James Webb

5:45:37 to 5:45:57( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: stamps with such american icons as thurogood marshall. in 17 this was the first forever stamp, no matter when it was purchased would be good for first-class purchase on the day they choose.

James Webb

5:45:58 to 5:46:19( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: the image they took was as american as the purple heart and that i the liberty bell. according to a postal service press release since its first issuance in april of 2007, more than six billion forever liberty bell stamps have been sold. this is an order of magnitude

James Webb

5:46:20 to 5:46:42( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: greater than any other single stamp in the united states history generating a revenue of more than dz 2 billion. the -- $2 billion. it is a win for the postal service, which is facing a shortfall in the future revenues and a win for the value of those who want to use them. in creating the first

James Webb

5:46:43 to 5:47:04( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: heart general washi let it be known that he who wears the military order of the purple heart is given -- has given of his blood in defense of his homeland and and shall be forever revered by his fellow countrymen. george washington intended that the nation that he helped fnd would forever revere those who wear the purple heart as a

James Webb

5:47:05 to 5:47:25( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: symbol of the sacrifice they have given in our nation's defense. as a recipient of the purple heart in vietnam as a marine, i believe that making the purple heart stamp a forever stamp is the most appropriate way to honor the past and future recipients of our nation's oldest military decoration, and i hope my colleagues will join

James Webb

5:47:26 to 5:47:46( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: me in this legislation. madam president, i now turn to the recent debate that we have had in this last omnibus appropriations bill with respect to earmarks.

James Webb

5:47:47 to 5:48:08( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: the premise seems to be for those who have criticized the earmarks suppos process is that this is pork. sometimes it is, sometimes it is not. but i would start, fis first of all with the constitution. there is nothing in the united states constitution that say

James Webb

5:48:09 to 5:48:29( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: that's the executive branch of government should appropriate funds or decide which funds should be spent. that is a procedure that has evolved over the centuries because of the economickities of our -- complexities of our government. where the executive branch looks at our needs and congress and asks for appropriations.

James Webb

5:48:30 to 5:48:51( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: earmarks take place when individual members of congress exercising their authority to appropriate under the united states constitution decide and recoend that programs -- worthwhile programs in

James Webb

5:48:52 to 5:49:12( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: case should be included in a budget process, programs that have not been considered or included by the executive branch or through other processes. for instance, i was able to -- lastear, along with senator john warner, now retired, to

James Webb

5:49:13 to 5:49:35( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: bring $5 million into a rural area in tidewater, virginia, so that they could put broadband in. broadband is something that we know that all americans who want to compete for their future and contribute equally need to it didn't make it into anybody's bill hovment is thinking of -- bill hovment is thinking about

James Webb

5:49:36 to 5:49:56( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: rural virginia and sparsely populated areas? and we were able to bring a benefit to people who would not otherwise receive it. but what i would ask my colleagues and particularly those who have become so adamant in their concern over the earmarks process to consider is

James Webb

5:49:57 to 5:50:17( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: let's take a look at the budget that comes over to the congress. is that come over? pork that comes through in some cases unnecessary influence or individual discretion? you bet there is. and i can say that as someone

James Webb

5:50:18 to 5:50:39( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: who spent five years in the pentagon. four years of which i was on the defense resources board where on any given day we were implementing a budget, arguing a budget in the congress and developing the next year's budget. and i would just offer an example of a situation that my

James Webb

5:50:40 to 5:51:01( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: staff has been following -- has been following for the last 10 months and use it as -- as an invitation to my colleagues to join me in looking where there really can be abuses of discretion, and where there really can be a lot of money that can be saved. 10 months ago on may 21st,

James Webb

5:51:02 to 5:51:24( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: there was an article wall street journal" that talked about blackwater worldwide attempting to obtain local approval for a new traing center in san diego, california. we all rember blackwater. they're an independent contractor that has done more than $1 billion of business since the bush administration in

James Webb

5:51:25 to 5:51:45( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: the -- in -- when the most recent bush administration took office. i became very curious about this project. first, because i had seen reports of -- of what a very high percentage of what t blackwater contracts had been awarded were either noncompete or minimal compete.

James Webb

5:51:46 to 5:52:08( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: and the high -- the high volume number, more than one billion of them. also the fact that having at one time been secretary of the navy, that they were wanting to build a traing center so that they could train active duty sailors how to defend themselves on board a

James Webb

5:52:09 to 5:52:29( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: ship. and having spent time in the marine corps, i immediately started thinking about what it would have been like to have a nonmilitary contractor teaching me how to do patrolling when i was going through basic school in quantico all of those years ago. it just didn't fit.

James Webb

5:52:30 to 5:52:50( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: so i started asking around and first thing i found out was this was a contract from the navy that was worth about $64 million. and i wrote a letter to se and i said: is this blackwater program in any way authorized or

James Webb

5:52:51 to 5:53:12( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: funded by u.s. tax dollars? the answer came back, yes. obviously. i asked: is there specific legislative authorization for it? i couldn't of the armed services committee. the answer was not. according to secretary gates, this activity falls under the broad authorization provided by the secretary of defense and

James Webb

5:53:13 to 5:53:34( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: secretaries of the military departments to procure goods and services using appropriated funds and prescribed procedures for their pcurements. and i asked: is there --: is there a specific appropriation? and the answer was there was no specific appropriation or earmark directing this effort.

James Webb

5:53:35 to 5:53:55( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: as we started to peel this back, here's what we found out: an individual, an s.c.s., mid-level individual in the department of the navy, had the authority to approve this type of a program up to the value of $78 million without even having a review by

James Webb

5:53:56 to 5:54:19( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: the secretary of the navy. and ts was not an authorized program. it was not a appropriated program. it was money that came out of a block of appropriated funds for operation and maintenance that then somebody in the navy said was essential to the needs of the service, the needs of the fleet, which is a very generic term.

James Webb

5:54:20 to 5:54:41( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: so i would just ask colleagues who are so concerned about some of the pork projects or the earmarks process here, which has gained a great deal of visibility since i have been here over the past transparency to join me in

James Webb

5:54:42 to 5:55:03( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: taking a look at these contracts. when a mid-level person in the pentagon has approve a program that hasn't been appropriated up to the value of $78 million, and not even have the oversight of the secretary of the -- of that service, that is where you see

James Webb

5:55:04 to 5:55:25( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: the potential for true abuse of the process, and that is where we need energy as a congress. and with tha floor, and suggest the absence of a quorum. e presiding officer: thank you.

James Webb

5:55:26 to 5:55:31( Edit History Discussion )

James Webb: the c

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