In her latest newsletter, Sen. Claire McCaskill says she will continue the battle to cut wasteful spending, noting, "I didn't come to the Senate to make friends. I came to get results for Missouri's families.
One thing I learned as Missouri's State Auditor, and now as a U.S. Senator, is that when it comes to saving taxpayer money and cutting government spending, you can't just ask nicely. Since every dime in Washington is spoken for by someone, cutting that money won't win you a lot of friends.
That became clear to me during my tough and successful fight to eliminate earmarks-the shadowy system lawmakers used to steer taxpayer money toward pet projects, instead of using a competitive budget process-and when I worked across the aisle to cap federal spending, a plan that came within one vote of passing.
It might be tough, but I'm going to keep fighting to cut wasteful spending. Because I didn't come to the Senate to make friends. I came to get results for Missouri's families.
Part of that fight is my work to require federal agencies to reduce their spending, and just as importantly, spend their money more effectively. Every Missouri family knows that you have to know exactly how much money you're spending-on groceries, gas, and utility bills-before you can figure out how much you can reduce your expenses. That applies to the government, as well, and it's why the law requires a complete financial audit for each department.
While nearly every agency in the federal government now undergoes and is able to complete an annual audit, one department continues to pose a challenge-the Defense Department, with its more than $600 billion in annual spending.
So, just a couple of weeks ago, I teamed up with one of the most conservative members of the Senate, Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, to introduce legislation forcing the Pentagon to get its act together and produce a basic financial audit. As someone who has fought repeatedly to eliminate wasteful spending and overhaul faulty contracting practices across the federal government, I know that you can't stamp out fraud, waste, and abuse effectively if you don't know where you are spending money. This is the problem we face with the Pentagon. I know we'll find billions of dollars in savings for the American taxpayer if the Pentagon can finally pass an audit and account for its spending.
One of the most basic responsibilities of the federal government is to ensure the safety of the American people. After six years serving on the Senate Armed Services Committee, I know we can cut wasteful spending in the Pentagon while still fulfilling this duty.
Every day, I hear from Missourians demanding more accountability and transparency from government, and as your Senator those are demands I will continue to take seriously no matter whose toes I have to step on in the process.