Washington (CNSNews.com) -House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX), implored President Clinton Wednesday to push agency heads to ferret out waste and to help achieve budget cuts of one percent across-the-board in order to balance the 2000 budget without dipping into the Social Security Trust Fund surplus.
DeLay told CNSNews.com that he expects the House to reach a budget agreement Wednesday night or early Thursday, but said that there is still plenty of work to do to reach a final agreement with the White House. "This Congress will stay in town until the President shows us he won't raid the Social Security surplus," said DeLay.
Joining DeLay at a Capitol Hill press conference was Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), who also urged the White House to trim costs while he held a list of examples of federal government, waste, fraud and abuse. "We promised the American people we would pass a budget which does not raise taxes and protects Social Security," said Sessions. "We are now prepared to deliver on this promise by rooting out the waste, fraud and abuse we find every day in the way the government operates," he added.
As an example of federal government waste, fraud and abuse, Sessions cited a $6.6 million welfare-to-work contract awarded by the District of Columbia to a company with no experience in the field of job placement that was owned by a friend of the city official awarding the contract. After achieving almost no results and spending $1 million in federal money, the city cancelled the contract and was sued by the company for breach of contract. "This is a perfect example of how the federal government wastes money," Sessions told CNSNews.com. He estimates that more than $800 million of taxpayer money is wasted annually by the federal government on similar programs.
Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT), said that the White House and Congressional leaders are only about $5 billion away from a budget agreement. She called it a small sum compared to the $1.6 trillion overall budget.
Johnson said that the Department of Defense lost $3 billion worth of equipment last year while in transit, and another $857 million was reported wasted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. "That's almost $5 billion right there," said Johnson.
"We want, Mr. President, to work with you," said Johnson.
Republican Conference Chairman J.C. Watts of Oklahoma repeated DeLay's pledge to stay in session until a budget agreement is hammered out that preserves all of the Social Security surplus.
"We will remain at the negotiating table until we have a budget agreement that protects the Social Security Trust Fund. If the president wants more spending, he must provide offsets for it," Watts told CNSNews.com.