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Waste Found Within The Pell Grant Program

Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Kline) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Rep. John Kline

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, as another member of the Washington Waste Watchers, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight just one example of what we are now learning to be the vast amount of waste throughout our Federal Government. Unfortunately, no Federal agency is immune to this waste, even those that are implementing the Nation's most important Federal programs.

One particularly troubling example of waste is found within the Pell grant program. $336 million in Pell grants were improperly dispersed to applicants that understated their income in 2001. Let me be clear, American taxpayers spent $336 million in Pell grants for applicants that were not eligible.

Not only does this represent a terrible misuse of taxpayer dollars, the expenditure of these funds denies the legitimate financial assistance provided by Pell grants to the thousands of students who truly need and deserve this help.

Mr. Speaker, we belong to a Congress that has brought unprecedented increases in Federal funding to our schools. Yet the administrators in my district continue to ask why have I not seen that money. I should not have to report to the administrators, teachers, and parents in Minnesota that the money they need to provide the quality education our children deserve is not available because it has been wasted by an inattentive Federal bureaucracy.

We have got to put an end to this harmful waste. Unfortunately, some of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle would prefer to ignore this waste and simply complain about, quote, lack of funding for Pell grants. Rather than crack down on the ineffective bureaucracy responsible for this waste, they would like to create more funds by raising taxes on hard-working American families.

My colleagues and I in the Washington Waste Watchers have a more responsible approach. It begins with eliminating the waste in government spending and creating more efficiency in Federal programs.

The budgets passed by the House Republicans both last year and this year make great progress toward our goal of eliminating waste. Last year's budget led to a report that highlighted between $85 and $100 billion of wasteful spending. This year's budget instructed committees to reduce or eliminate the most egregious examples of waste.

Mr. Speaker, American taxpayers deserve better than to have their hard-earned paychecks squandered by an irresponsible bureaucracy in Washington. I ask my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to join us in creating a better Federal Government, not making it bigger through more tax increases, but helping us to expand services for those who truly need them by eliminating the waste.