Dem plays 'The Price is Wrong' to highlight defense overspending

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) on Wednesday night turned the House floor into a game show set by playing "The Price is Wrong" to highlight millions of dollars of overspending by the Department of Defense on small parts that cost less than $10 bucks at a hardware store.

"Everyone's heard about 'The Price is Right,' but on C-SPAN tonight, we're going to play 'The Price is Wrong,' " Speier said late Wednesday evening.

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Speier said the Defense Department's inspector general has found that since 2010, the department has overspent by more than $430 million on parts. As an example, she brought out a ramp gauge roller assembly, which fits in one hand and costs $7.71 at the Defense hardware store.

According to Speier, auditors said the part could be slightly more expensive than that, since it's for a Chinook helicopter.

"What did the personnel within the Department of Defense pay for this little assembly? It wasn't $7.71. Was it perhaps $77.10? Nope," she said as she peeled away price tags on the item.

"Was it $771? Nope. It wasn't $771. We paid, for this $7.71 part, $1,678.61," she said. "The price is wrong, and the Department of Defense has got to clean up its act."

She then pulled out a bearing sleeve that costs $6, and said Defense paid $2,286 for this part.

"We just didn't buy one part," she said. "We bought 573 of these parts … and it cost us $1.3 million."

For the showcase showdown, Speier asked which cost more — a two ramp gate roller assembly that was about the size of a cell phone, or a trip to Paris, France for two, including air and hotel for four nights.

"Which is more expensive? Well, if you guessed the trip to Paris, France, you'd be wrong. Because a trip to Paris, France … would cost $2,681," she said.

"And we paid, or I should say the Army paid, $3,357 for this two ramp gate roller assembly."

"That's all the games we have for tonight," she said. "Thank you for playing. We'll see you next time on the Price is Wrong."

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