Needs of the Many

Bring Your Lies & Half-Truths … I Will Destroy Them

Democrats Continue To Add Pork To Terror Spending Bill

Posted by Casey on March 27, 2007

The Senate is even worse than the House with their pork barrel spending, and the Dems continue to prove that their campaign promises were not promises at all. They promised a five day work week, implementing all of the 9/11 Commission recommendations, getting the troops out of Iraq, and less pork barrel spending. Non of those promises, and others, have come to pass. In fact, very little of the Democrat platform in November has been implemented … with the exception of the minimum wage increase. Excluding American Samoa … of course.

President Bush requested $102 billion for the troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as $14 billion for Hurricane Katrina aid and more than $4 billion for “emergency farm relief. What he got instead was a series of “sweeteners” that the Democrat leadership had to bribe their members of Congress with in order to attack the troops and the president. The “sweeteners” are to the tune of nearly $20 billion in pork not related to the war, Katrina relief, or farm aid.

The worst part of the House version was a little noticed, or discussed, minimum wage increase. This is in addition to the minimum wage increase Congress just passed, and separate increases that many states just passed as well. That would bring the total minimum wage increases since January to 2 nationally, and 3 in many states. Why hasn’t the minimum wage increase in the House bill been discussed? I don’t know … perhaps because the President will never allow it through. I think we need to focus more on the wage increase than the rest of the pork because it would have the greater economic impact. It should only be second in discussion to the September 2008 deadline for our troops to leave Iraq. Something our military has vocally opposed on numerous occasions.

Some other pork projects in the House bill include:

  • $500 million for emergency wildfires suppression; the Forest Service currently has $831 million for this purpose;
  • $400 million for rural schools;
  • $74 million for peanut storage costs;
  • $50 million for asbestos mitigation at the U.S. Capitol Plant;
  • $48 million in salaries and expenses for the Farm Service Agency;
  • $16 million for security upgrades to House of Representatives office buildings;
  • $6.4 million for House of Representative’s Salaries and Expenses Account for business continuity and disaster recovery expenses;
  • $4 million for the Office of Women’s Health at the Food and Drug Administration; and
  • A minimum wage increase, which is the subject of separate legislation.

You can find more at Citizens Against Government Waste.

Now for the Senate bill.

By far and away the worst part of the Senate version is that it includes $100 million for the two major political parties’ 2008 presidential conventions. That is … the taxpayer will fund both the Republican and Democrat presidential conventions. This is unacceptable for everyone. Republicans will not want to fund the Democrat convention, and vise versa.

The Senate bill includes many of the same pork that the House bill has, but goes even further.

  • $640 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program;
  • $425 million for education grants for rural areas;
  • $388.9 million for a backlog of Department of Transportation projects;
  • $25 million for grants through the Safe and Drug Free Schools program;
  • $22.8 million for geothermal research and development;
  • $20 million for reimbursements to Nevada for “insect damage;”
  • $3.5 million for guided tours of the Capitol;
  • Allows the transfer of funds from holiday ornament sales in the Senate gift shop.

Non of these things has anything to do with the President’s request, and proves that the Democrats are perfectly willing to violate their November platform promises, and use pork barrel spending to get what they want. This type of activity is what got Republicans in trouble with their base the past few years … thanks to Porkbusters.

The Democrats knew that the Republican base was putting pressure on their congressmen to stop the pork, and they used that in their platform to get elected. The Democrats promised to not engage in pork politics, but have succeeded in one-upping the Republicans at their own game. At least the Republicans tried to be discreet. The Democrats are actually hailing the pork spending.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., Monday defended the extra spending, describing it as “common sense and good economics.”

“Funding for the war is not the only critical need worthy of the supplemental spending,” he said. The war “must not obliterate every other concern.”

Whether the spending is necessary, or not, doesn’t matter. They are not related to this bill whatsoever, and should be addressed by separate bills in Congress. Indeed … many have … such as the minimum wage hike.

Other proposed spending is simply unnecessary anyway you cut it. Then again … what would you expect from Sen. Byrd? He is the not so humble winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Porkbusters, and has been granted the title King of Pork from Citizens Against Government Waste. When it comes to pork barrel spending … Sen. Byrd is second to non.

The Examiner reports:

The $100 million for the political party conventions — $50 million for the Democratic convention in Denver and $50 million for the Republican convention in St. Paul, Minn. — is included in a section described as “Katrina recovery, veterans’ care and for other purposes.”

Christmas trees are even getting money from Congress.

Among the other beneficiaries of the Senate “emergency” war bill is the tree assistance program, including, specifically, Christmas trees.

So much for separation of church and state which the left often champions.

There is even a provision for congressmen to get more office space.

The Democrats have demonstrated the same greed, selfishness, and corruption that Republicans have been displaying the past couple of years, and the taxpayer is the victim once again. The only solice you can take from this is that President Bush will veto the bill, and Congress doesn’t have the votes to override it.

The Democrats aren’t stupid. They knew full well that they had no chance of success with this bill. Yet they put tremendous effort into it, and they exposed their willingness to engage in pork politics. If they were willing to put in such effort to get pork into a lost cause … how far will they go when it isn’t a lost cause?

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