Vilsack in Ames Library to Tout Plan to Fight Government Waste
Vilsack's stop was one of three planned Tuesday in her campaign for Iowa's new 4th Congressional District.
Christie Vilsack said eliminating fraud, waste and abuse in government would be one way to tackle the debt and deficit crisis of the nation during a campaign stop at the Ames Public Library Tuesday morning.
Before Vilsack, who is running for Iowa's new 4th Congressional District, laid out her plan she told a room of reporters that her mother always said “Waste not, want not,” and proceeded to describe how her grandmother and great grandmother used scraps of cloth to sew quilts, darn socks and would butcher hogs and boil the head to capture all the pieces of meat.
“They used every piece of that hog,” Vilsack said.
Vilsack said Washington's runaway spending happened over a number of years and both parties are responsible.
Her plan to stop abuse and waste spending includes:
Placing inspector generals in every federal department.
“We could have used that kind of oversight when the GSA took a lavish trip to Las Vegas partying it up on the tax payer's dime,” Vilsack said.
Allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
Increase the government's ability to uncover waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid and food assistance programs like WIC and SNAP.
Vilsack also said Congress also needs to build on the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act to encourage a streamlined database instead of the multiple systems in use today.
“I'm not interested in going to Washington to be someone. I'm interested in going to Washington to do something,” Vilsack said.
Vilsack has been criticized by Republicans lately including Steve King, R-Kiron, who she will face in November, for dodging answers to questions like how she would have voted on Barack Obama's health care plan. When reporters asked her about those criticisms, Vilsack said she only felt comfortable explaining her frame of mind, but not how she would have voted, because it's not possible to know since she wasn't in Congress at the time.
“I can't help it that I don't have a record and Steve King does. He has to live with his record,” she said. “I'm happy to talk about generally how I think on an issue.”
About 15 members of a the American Federation of Government Employees and an Occupy Ames member attended the conference to ask Vilsack about where she stood on meat processors and agri processors policing the meat inspection process.
Vilsack said it's something she cares about and would look into it and also read a statement she released on the issue earlier Tuesday after the groups protested outside her office:
“We must ensure that our food is inspected and produced safely. In addition, we must ensure that those working in agriculture and food processing have safe working conditions. Before any changes are made to the way poultry is inspected, we need to ensure that workers aren’t being placed in danger and that the safety of our food is not compromised. In addition, we should not privatize jobs. There are inherent concerns with allowing companies to inspect themselves, especially with an increase in line speeds that could make inspection more difficult and raise safety issues. I look forward to learning more about this issue and talking with those most affected by it.”