Piggies in the Senate

Posted on October 17, 2009

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From the Washington Times:

Congress (BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE) is continuing along its piggy ways again.  Can you say pork, pork, and more pork?!

This time they’ve diverted $2.6 BILLION from a defense spending bill in order to fund pet projects back home.  Stuff like this drives me absolutely insane. 

The “earmarks” (didn’t President Obama say he was going to crack down earmarks?), came from the Operations and Management (O & M) accounts.  So, in exchange for shorting the troops “training, repairs, spares and supplies for vehicles, weapons, ships and planes, food and fuel”, this is some of what we’ll get:

  • A $25 million World War II museum at the University of New Orleans – funding asked for by Senators Mary L. Landrieu, LA(Dem.)and David Vitter,LA (Rep.)
  • The $20 million launching of “an educational institute named after the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy” – funding asked for by Senators Daniel K. Inouye, HI (Dem.) who is also the Appropriations Chairman, and John Kerry, MA (Dem.)
  • $20 million for “Humvee maintenance at an Army National Guard installation in Maine” – funding asked for by Senators Olympia Snowe, ME (Rep.) and Susan Collins, ME (Rep.) Please note that Senators Snowe and Collins were two of the bottom three in conservative rankings in the National Journal poll in 2007  (last year for reporting) .
  • $20 million for a Maui Space Surveillance System in Hawaii – funding asked for by Sen. Daniel Inouye, HI (Dem.)- yes the same one listed above
  • $25 million for the Hawaii Federal Health Care Network – funding also requested by Sen. Daniel Inouye, HI (Dem.)

Senator Inouye (HI – Dem.), who is the CHAIRMAN OF THE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE, had a total of 35 earmarks ($206 million total) and Senator Thad Cochran, MI (Rep.) had a total of 48 earmarks ($216 million).  Also included in the bill was $2.5 billion worth of funding on planes and a ship that the Pentagon did not request.

Senator Inouye insists that the troops will not be shortchanged.  So if the troops will do fine with this lesser amount, why are we spending the extra $5.1 billion at all?  In a time when the unemployment is 9.8% and our national deficit has hit its highest point since the 1940’s ($1.4 TRILLION) why are they allowed to continue to spend like drunken sailors? 

Here’s an idea if Congress really wants to help out the average American. Instead spending our tax dollars on projects that really won’t benifit the vast majority of the population, how about refunding that $5.1 billion to we taxpayers in the form of tax cuts so we can keep our money and spend it the way WE see fit?  On things like, oh say, food, shelter and utilities.

Posted in: Congress, Economy