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Senate Proceeding 04-13-10 on Apr 13th, 2010 :: 4:17:10 to 4:32:10
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George Voinovich

4:17:10 to 4:32:10( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: George Voinovich

George Voinovich

4:17:17 to 4:17:38( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio is recognized. mr. voinovich: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. mr. voinovich: i ask that it be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. voinovich: mr. president, i rise today to speak about one of the recess appointments president obama made when the

George Voinovich

4:17:39 to 4:17:59( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: senate was not in session. before i get into my concern about this, i would like to emphasize the fact that i have been the ranking member or the chairman of the over saoeufgt government management and

George Voinovich

4:18:00 to 4:18:22( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: district of columbia and several years agohe federal workforce. working with senator akaka, we have conscientiously tried to make the most significant improvements in federal service in terms of human capital and looking at title 5 of the code that deals with our federal workers.

George Voinovich

4:18:23 to 4:18:44( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: and that if you really look at the past and determine why we've had some real bad situations in the federal government, as we haven't had the right people with the right knowledge and skills at theight time at the right place. and so the whole effort has been to try and improve the management of our government to work with senator akaka to try

George Voinovich

4:18:45 to 4:19:09( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: to get federal agencies off the high-risk list. and high-risk lists are agencies that are subject to waste, fraud, and abuse and mismanagement. so i first share that with you because i think it may cast a little bit of a light about what i'm going to talk about this evening.

George Voinovich

4:19:10 to 4:19:32( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: the president nominated rayfield boraz to serve as department of homeland security under secretary for management on june 24, 2009. that's june of last year. i met with mr. borras to discuss his experience, qualification and goals for the department of homeland security and also served as the ranking member when the homeland security and governmental affairs committee

George Voinovich

4:19:33 to 4:19:53( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: held his nomination hearing on july 29, 2009. i carefully reviewed mr. borras's background resume and stated qualifications and heard what people he worked for and what people who worked for him said about him. based on all that i placed a

George Voinovich

4:19:54 to 4:20:14( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: hold on mr. borras' nomination becausible he is unqualified to be the d.h.s. under secretary for management -fplgt on march -- for managemen on march 27 of this year the president ignored my concerns and my hold and made mr. borras one of his 15 recess appointments, and i want to know why. i want to know why.

George Voinovich

4:20:15 to 4:20:35( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: i don't generally oppose nominees and i don't put holds on lightly. and when i do, i explain why i put on holds. i don't hide out. i let people know why i put a hold on. i'm extremely concerned about the management challenges the department of homeland security faces which are wide-ranging and far-reaching.

George Voinovich

4:20:36 to 4:20:56( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: when congress established the department of homeland security in 2002, we initiated the federal government's largest restructuring since the department of defense was created in 1947. what's more, we told the department to protect us from terrorism and natural disasters while addressing the organizational operational, and

George Voinovich

4:20:57 to 4:21:17( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: cultural challenges associated with merging 22 agencies and 175,000 employees into one entity. it's probably the biggest management challenge in the history of the world. the government accountability office cautioned about the challeng the merger would

George Voinovich

4:21:18 to 4:21:38( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: cause and place the department of homeland security on its high-risk list in january of 2003. today d.h.s. is the third-largest cabinet with about 230,000 employees, annual budget of $50 million, management challenges persist and the department remai on g.a.o.'s

George Voinovich

4:21:39 to 4:22:00( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: high-risk list. additionally, the d.h.s. inspector general, the d.h.s. chief financial officer and the homeland security advisory council cultural task force have also identified management challenges at d.h.s. they recognize they've got some big problems.

George Voinovich

4:22:01 to 4:22:21( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: d.h.s. is too big an entity spending too much money with too important a job to be deemed susceptible to waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement year after kwraoerbgs and it's -- year, and it's imperative the right person be put in place to address those challenges. i don't believe that mr. borras is the person and i don't think

George Voinovich

4:22:22 to 4:22:42( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: he will move the department forward towards getting off the government accountability office's high-risk list. my ccerns about mr. borras' qualifications and my holds on the nomination were not secret. i wrote the majority leader. i wrote secretary napolitano and i also wrote to the president to

George Voinovich

4:22:43 to 4:23:03( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: outline my concerns. i announced in a homeland security and governmental affairs hearing on d.h.s. management challenges that i was holding the nomination because of those concerns. but no one approached me to discuss those concerns. the senate did not debate mr. borras' qualification. no cloture motion was filed.

George Voinovich

4:23:04 to 4:23:25( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: rather, my concerns were ignored and this recess appointment was made. i would like for someone in the administration to explain why things were done this way. i assume it was done because everyone knows that mr. borras is not the best person to manage our third largest department and any debate we had would have

George Voinovich

4:23:26 to 4:23:46( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: made his lack of qualifications plainly apparent, so we didn't debate it. if the senate had taken the time to debate this nomination, i would have skpwhraeupbd that in -- explained i 2007 congress set statutory requirements for the d.h.s. under secretary for management. by the way, we helped create that special under secretary for

George Voinovich

4:23:47 to 4:24:08( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: management because we believed that the department needed someone that would get up early in the morning and go to bed late at night and move on the transformations needed in the department to get it off the high-risk list. we required the under secretary to have extensive executive-level leadership and management experience, a demonstrated ability to manage

George Voinovich

4:24:09 to 4:24:30( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: large and complex organization and a proven record in achieving positive operational results. mr. borras did not meet those statutory requirements because he does not have the appropriate executive-level leadership, experience or demonstrated ability to manage an organization as large and complex as d.h.s.

George Voinovich

4:24:31 to 4:24:51( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: the administrion and mr. borras point to his experience as one of several vice vice presidents in one region of a fortune 500 company. as a regional administrator for one region of the general services administration and as deputy assistant scare at the department of commerce --

George Voinovich

4:24:52 to 4:25:12( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: assistant secretary at the department of commerce. i don't believe these experiences are i any way comparable to the challenges mr. borras will face at d.h.s. he has never overseen a budget anywhereear as large as the d.h.s. budget. his own assertions indicate that the largest budget he ever was involved with was $4.5 billion

George Voinovich

4:25:13 to 4:25:33( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: at the department of commerce. that's roughly one-tenth the size of the d.h.s. $50 billion budget, and mr. borras was never directly responsible for the commerce department budget. he was just one of tho that worked at the department. additionally, mr. borras has never managed hundreds of

George Voinovich

4:25:34 to 4:25:55( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: thousands of employees like the 230,000 he'll be responsible for at d.h.s. at most he asserts he was directly responsible for managing 1,500 employees while a g.s.a. regional administrator. he has of -- never kwro e seen a

George Voinovich

4:25:56 to 4:26:17( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: procurement -- never overseen a procurement budget where in 2005 $10 billion was spent on 63 contracts. he asserts the largest procurement budget he's been involved with was one quarter of that, $2.5 billion while at the general services administration. given the vast difference between mr. borras' experience and the requirements of the job,

George Voinovich

4:26:18 to 4:26:38( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: i agree with two of his former supervisors who told me that this job is a big leap from what he's done in the public and private sector. in other words, they said this is a big leap from what he's done. further, when you compare mr. borras' qualifications with the qualifications of past nominees for this position,

George Voinovich

4:26:39 to 4:26:59( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: there's even more concern. for example, paul schneider had over 38 years of federal service when he was nominated to the d.h.s. under secretary for management. and much of that experience was with the navy, a large, complicated organization like d.h.s. similarly, elaine duke had more

George Voinovich

4:27:00 to 4:27:20( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: than 25 years of progressively difficult federal government experience primarily within the department of defense when she was nominated to be d.h.s. under secretary for management. i don't mean to imply that only career civil servants are appropriate for this role, but mr. borras' resume does not include high-level managerial

George Voinovich

4:27:21 to 4:27:42( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: positions at organizations that are similarly comex to d.h.s., and i think the department of homeland security under seetary for management needs a proven record in that regard. i want to emphasize again, we set this up specifically to be responsible for transformation and to deal with the management problems of the department. so we laid it out and said this

George Voinovich

4:27:43 to 4:28:05( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: is the kind of person that we ought to be putting into this position. additionally and unfortunately, mr. borras demonstrated a lack of attention to detail on two separate occasions in his own personal life, which makes me wonder whether he's prepared to successfully undertake all the responsibilities required of the d.h.s. under secretary for

George Voinovich

4:28:06 to 4:28:28( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: management, such as addressing d.h.s.'s low rank on the best places to work in the federal government study and overseeing the billions of dollars that d.h.s. spends on hard to manage projects. i feel so strongly about mr. borras's lack of qualification that i no longer

George Voinovich

4:28:29 to 4:28:50( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: am seeking to work to enact a five-year term for the position that -- for the person that holds this position. the thought was when we put this position together, we would give it a five-year term because we knew that if you're going to do transformation, it's going to take more than one year. we give that individual five years to go forward and just work on nothing but

George Voinovich

4:28:51 to 4:29:11( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: transformation, transformation, transformation, so this department would come together and we get it off the high-risk list. the government accountability office suggests such a term would help improve the management function at d.h.s. and i've been aocating for such legislation for the last couple of years. my bill has bipartisan support and has passed the senate

George Voinovich

4:29:12 to 4:29:32( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: before, but now i don't want it enacted because i'm afraid of having mr. borras in this position for five years. i don't think heas the skills necessary to get the job done. so that's gone. and i know i'm not alone in my concerns. mr. borras was passed out of the homeland security and governmental affairs committee

George Voinovich

4:29:33 to 4:29:53( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: largely on a party-line vote, but it should be noted that two democrat members of the committee expressed concern about his qualification when we were debating his nomination. in fact, one of the democrats who voted for the nomination said she was doing so to send the nomination to the floor but that she wanted the committee to take a closer look at

George Voinovich

4:29:54 to 4:30:14( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: mr. borras' qualifications to make sure he had the management skills necessary to manage the department of homeland security. i wonder, did such a review ever occur? if it did, it did not include me even though i'm the ranking member on the committee's oversight of govnment management subcommittee. you know something? i should have asked senator akaka if he had ever been

George Voinovich

4:30:15 to 4:30:36( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: consulted, but a dime will get you a dollar. they didn't talk to him at all. i wasn't a stron supporter in creating the department of homeland security. standing it up created real challenges, and those challenges remain, but the department exists and we owe it to the united states and our children and grandchildren to ensure the

George Voinovich

4:30:37 to 4:30:58( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: department is as good as it can be. i think we need to ask our president why did he make this research appointment when doubts existed on both sides the aisle about mr. borras' qualifications? what was the stated reason for the appointment? will somebody explain why the appointment was made? i sat with the secretary and we

George Voinovich

4:30:59 to 4:31:19( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: talked about it. never in all of my conversations did anyone come forward and say he should get the job, he is qualified for the job. the fact that no one in the administration defended mr. boras' really or really explained why they thought he was qualified to be in d.h.s.

George Voinovich

4:31:20 to 4:31:40( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: undersecretary for management still remains a puzzlement to me. i think somebody owes it to me, to senator akaka, to the members of this senate to explain why they put this man in this position under a recessed appointment, particularly when we have an agency that if we don't have the kind of attention given to it will never be in a

George Voinovich

4:31:41 to 4:31:50( Edit History Discussion )

George Voinovich: position where it can get off the high-risk list. thank you,

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