‘Capitol Offense’

Hey, wasteful Washington spenders, watch out! Three freshman Republicans of the House say they’ve had enough and they’re ready to take you to task for misspending tax dollars on parochial pork projects. One of the founders of Washington Waste Watch, Republican Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, joined Scarborough Country Thursday.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: What in the world is going on in Washington, D.C.? You guys are spending money like a bunch of drunk sailors on leave.

REP. MARIO DIAZ-BALART, R-FLORIDA: It’s always been that way, and there’s always been an attitude that “It’s ok, that we can just get more money from the hard working American taxpayer. They won’t mind, they won’t know where it’s going.” Well, we are just totally fed up. We have to congratulate the president, by the way, who’s really now trying to do a great job and trying to lift waste, fraud and abuse, and others in Congress.

But a number of us freshmen, including Congressman Hensarling from Texas, Feeney from Florida, and I, have put together this group to look for waste, which by the way, Joe, is not hard to do, but also then look for ways to root it out, to get rid of it. We’re not content with just allowing it to be there, and also we totally deplore the tactics of the other party, that they say it doesn’t really matter, let’s just raise taxes.

We want to cut taxes, we want to make sure the people who deserve the services get those services and we want to do so by getting rid of this amazing amount of waste that goes on.

SCARBOROUGH: Mario, that’s something we highlight almost every night on our “Capital Offense”, and I want to you take a look at some of the highlights of pork spending on Capitol Hill: Two million dollars to fly Russian businessmen to the United States. One million dollars to study bear DNA, $500,000 to improving world coffee sales, $450,000 researching how to freeze oysters, $200,000 upgrading a mountainside cable car, and the grand total of the pork spending for just this year is $22.5 billion.

Now Mario, you talked about the other party, but I got to tell you, I thought when Republicans took control of Congress in 1994 that we stopped this garbage for a while, but it’s come back. What’s happened?

DIAZ-BALART: It’s still there, because we need to change the culture of Washington from a culture of irresponsibility of spending other people’s money and we’ll just get more because the American taxpayer won’t really complain, to a culture of responsibility, of fiscal responsibility.

SCARBOROUGH: Hold on, Mario, but that’s what Republicans ran on. That’s what I ran on in 1994. The American people stood up and said “we’ve had enough of wasteful spending. We want our taxes cut.” Republicans took control of the House, the Senate, and then we said if we could only get the president in, if we could have a Republican president who wouldn’t veto our bills, then we could really stop this stuff. But it seems to have just gotten worse in the past three years.

DIAZ-BALART: Well, Joe, now there is an effort to try to get rid of it. And let me give you an example of why there’s a huge difference between the two parties: This year, Chairman Nussle of the Budget Committee said, “Hey, we’re going to cut just 1 percent in fraud waste and abuse,” and as far as I know, not even one Democrat voted for that. That’s the problem that we have.

We’re going to continue to fight. We’re going to continue to work to get rid of this waste, fraud and abuse. Unfortunately, Joe, we’re going to have to do it alone without any support from the Democrats, not even the so called conservative Democrats that are about as conservative as I am.

SCARBOROUGH: I am a registered Republican. Everyone knows that it’s a Republican Congress. Republicans control the Senate. Republicans control the House. Republicans control the White House. And let’s look at the national debt since Republicans have been in control of Congress.

In the 1990 there was a debt of $3 trillion. It rose to $4.6 trillion in 1994, $5.6 trillion in 2000, and today it’s over $6.7 trillion. We have the biggest deficit, yearly deficit, ever. Four hundred and fifty billion dollars right now for this year alone. Again, I hear you talking about the other party, and I would have said the same thing five years ago, but don’t the Republicans also bear blame for this?

DIAZ-BALART: Let’s look at the facts: This year alone the Democrats have proposed, just amendments to major legislation that we’re proposing and we’re passing, an increase to the deficit of almost $900 billion. Above all that.

There’s a reason for the deficit. Two reasons for the deficit. Number one is that the economy slowed down and that’s a big part of it. We know why, 9/11, you know, the stock market crash. The other part of the deficit problem is obviously that we need to do a better job controlling spending. That’s what we’re going to try to do. The Republicans have done a relatively good job of that-doing that, much better than the Democrats ever did. But we can do better.

SCARBOROUGH: I think the Republicans haven’t done a good job. I think the Democrats are worse on this issue, but I’ll tell you what. We only have about 15 seconds left, but will you and your other freshman Republicans tell the president of the United States that he’s got a pen and he can veto big runaway spending bills? Because he doesn’t veto these awful bills that reach his desk.

DIAZ-BALART: You’d better believe it. Not only that, we’re going to propose legislation, we are going to propose solutions, and we are going to highlight how bad the problem really is.

SCARBOROUGH: Thank you so much, Mario Diaz-Balart. Hey, listen. I’ve got to tell you, I know I asked some tough questions, but, man, I’m glad somebody up there is paying attention.