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Friday, August 04, 2006

Senate approves measures to improve Defense accountability (8/3/06)

"The Senate took steps on Thursday to impose greater public accountability on Pentagon operations by approving several amendments to the fiscal 2007 Defense appropriations bill.

The amendments, sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., passed easily as senators worked through the remaining amendments to the bill and Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., announced his intention to complete work on the measure Thursday night.

One of the Coburn amendments, which passed 96-0, would require the Defense Department to review any "improper payments" made for travel expenses. Another, approved by voice vote, would require the department to post online all reports mandated by Defense appropriations bills. It would, however, give the Defense secretary the authority to redact any information that could compromise national security.

Defense Department studies typically arrive on Capitol Hill with little fanfare and often go unnoticed by lawmakers, rarely seeing the light of day. "Whatever they report ought to be made available to the American public," Coburn said."

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