9 Questions with Senator Jim Webb

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5. Wartime Contracting

RCP: The other day on the Senate floor I noticed Senator Claire McCaskill carrying a copy of Born Fighting with her. The two of you worked together to form the Commission on Wartime Contracting last week. The Truman Commission, which it was designed after, saved about $178 billion, adjusted for inflation.

How much do you think this new commission could possibly save the government?

Webb: We don't know. The difficulty with our commission right now is in order to get it through the Congress, we had to make two adjustments. One was the makeup of it is four-four, Republicans and Democrats. The other is we don't have subpoena power. The first difficulty with the four-to-four balance depends on the good will of the people who have been appointed. If they work together -- and I'm hoping that they will -- then we can get some serious accountability retrospectively, looking back on what happened.

As to the subpoena power, I said -- I gave my presentation to them -- that if they believe they do not have the sufficient power to really bring accountability, to report to us. And we now have a situation, I think, in the Congress where we can add something on the subpoena power and perhaps extend the life of this for another year or so. It needs to be sunset-ed, but it took quite a bit of time for it to get up and running. I will say this, I think that the majority of the people on that commission are fairly energized to do something and that's a good sign.

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