Quigley Offers Interior Appropriations Amendment to Increase Transparency at the EPA & Reign in Wasteful Spending
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley (IL-05), who serves as a Member on the House Appropriations Committee, offered an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2018 Interior Subcommittee appropriations bill to provide Congress with better oversight over the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by requiring disclosure of the Administrator’s travel costs.
“In the face of the most ethically challenged Administration in American history, House Republicans are shirking their responsibility to conduct credible oversight that ensures the federal government is working for the people—not for special interests or the personal gain of cabinet members,” said Rep. Quigley. “Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency led by Administrator Pruitt is ground zero for violations of the public trust. This good-governance amendment increases transparency and accountability without curtailing vital travel for the EPA Administrator or impacting security or operations in any way.”
Below are Rep. Quigley’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:
Mr. Chairman, I think all of us in this room are well-aware of the near constant stream of news stories exposing the countless embarrassing and troubling ethical violations made by EPA Administrator Pruitt.
From impermissible benefits and cronyism to suspect hiring and firing, the Administrator has given the American public ample reason to call into question his ability to achieve the mission of the EPA—an agency he has frequently disparaged— or to even run a federal agency at all.
Perhaps most egregiously, however, the Administrator has made a practice of traveling to destinations that have little to do with official duties, with lavish accommodations on the taxpayers’ dime. Blurring lines between personal and professional travel, inventing reasons to visit desirable places, and buying expensive first-class tickets without justification represent a betrayal of the public trust at the highest level.
In fact, similar revelations regarding first class and private travel have already cost another cabinet secretary in this Administration his job. Yet, Mr. Pruitt has bafflingly and unacceptably skated by unscathed—so far. This is just more evidence of the this Administration’s failed promise—yet repeated mantra— to ‘drain the swamp.’
Mr. Chairman, my amendment would introduce some much-needed transparency into the EPA administrator’s travel and its cost to the taxpayer. Specifically, the amendment would require the Administrator and Deputy Administrator to publish a travel report within 10 days of each journey-detailing all official and nonofficial costs of the trip.
This way—without compromising security—the President, the Congress, and the public will know how the EPA is using its travel budget and why the man charged with ensuring we have clean air to breath and clean water to drink, is shirking his responsibilities at home and is instead off hawking natural gas exports to lobbyists in Morocco.
I urge you to support my amendment to increase transparency in EPA Administrator travel and to protect the trust the taxpayers have placed in us to ensure their money is spent wisely.