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'Pig Book' names congressional porkers

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by Doomsday101, May 23, 2008.

  1. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A watchdog group critical of pork barrel spending released its latest findings Wednesday targeting the top Congressional "porkers."

    Some of the pork projects, according to the group, include a Lobster Institute; the Rocky Flats, Colorado, Cold War Museum; and the First Tee, a program to build young people's character through golf.

    Members of Congress requested funds for all these pet projects and thousands of others last year, according to the latest copy of the annual "Pig Book" released by Citizens Against Government Waste.

    "Congress stuffed 11,610 projects" worth $17.2 billion into a dozen spending bills, the group said in the report released Wednesday.

    The "Pig Book" names dozens of what the citizens group considers the most egregious porkers, the lawmakers who funnel money to projects on their home turf. Interactive: Pork barrel spending »

    Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, requested the most money, $892.2 million, according to the group.

    In a statement to CNN, Cochran said he doesn't "accept the premise" of the group's claim that "any and all federal spending not specifically requested by the Executive Branch is wasteful and irresponsible."

    "The Congress is vested with the power to appropriate funds to be spent by the federal government by the U. S. Constitution. We will continue to carry out that responsibility with care and a commitment to serve the public interest," he said.

    "There were several candidates for the Narcissist Award," Tom Schatz, the president of the group said. Read the group's 2008 report

    "But this one went to House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel for the Charles Rangel Public Service Center at the City College of New York -- $1,950,000 [for a project] that he named after himself."

    Rangel, a Democrat from New York, said last summer he was "honored that City College chose to have my name attached to what is an important project, not just for the residents of my congressional district, but for New York City and this nation."

    Some lawmakers defended their earmarks, such as Rep. Mike Thompson, D-California, who channeled $742,764 to olive fruit fly research.

    "The olive fruit fly has infested thousands of California olive groves and is the single largest threat to the U.S. olive and olive oil industries," he said.

    Schatz responded that his organization is criticizing the way lawmakers direct money to specific projects, not the projects themselves.

    "There are existing programs for virtually everything in the 'Pig Book.' If members [of Congress] believe they should be given additional funding, give them to the agencies rather than to specific projects," he said.

    The problem with earmarks, he said, is that "we don't know if [the projects] are valuable or not."

    Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-South Carolina, the third ranking Democrat in the House, defended his earmark for a program that funds a youth golf program for children on U.S. military bases.

    "It's a character building program, that seems to be working well for low income kids and that's why we do it throughout the United States of America. I just feel that children living on military installations ought to have this program as well," Clyburn told CNN.

    Clyburn also defended the practice of earmarking federal funds.

    "I can name earmark after earmark, there's absolutely nothing wrong with congresspeople responding to their constituents and funding programs that they feel are necessary to improve the quality of life of the people who live in their districts."

    Clyburn also raised questions about the group releasing the "Pig Book" saying, "they're not telling the truth about this earmark no more than them telling the truth about where they get their money from. The committee against government waste isn't against government waste."

    He cited press reports from the St. Petersburg Times that the Committee Against Government Waste received money from the tobacco industry and other private groups to lobby Congress.

    Both parties came in for criticism, with the Democrats, who control both houses of Congress, topping the Republicans in spending.

    The Democrats were behind 5,199 projects worth $5.5 billion, while the Republicans earmarked 3,408 projects worth $4.4 billion, the citizen's group said.

    And in a sign bipartisanship is not dead, the two parties jointly backed 2,518 projects worth $3.8 billion. Interactive: Map of pork per capita by state »

    The three senators running for president were not among the top targets of criticism, and one got an entirely clean bill from the watchdog group.

    "Sen. [Barack] Obama had 53 earmarks worth $97 million dollars, and Sen. [Hillary] Clinton had 281 earmarks worth $296 million. Sen. Obama recently said he would not request any project for this upcoming fiscal year," said Tom Schatz, the president of Citizens Against Government Waste.

    "And of course Sen. [John] McCain has never requested them and he won't be doing so in 2009. So now the question is if Sen. Clinton will join the other major candidates in saying that she will not request any earmarks for 2009."

    To qualify for the Pig Book, a project must meet at least one of these standards: it was requested by only one chamber of Congress; was not specifically authorized; was not competitively awarded; was not requested by the president; greatly exceeded the president's budget request or the previous year's funding; was not the subject of congressional hearings; or served only a local or special interests.
  2. AbeBeta

    AbeBeta Well-Known Member

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    That Thompson piece is BS -- he's congressman to a rural agricultural area. That's a totally justifiable piece of bacon
  3. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    The thing that bothers me is how they sneak these projects into Bills that have nothing to do with the Bill itself. Both sides do it and it needs to stop.
  4. AtlCB

    AtlCB Active Member

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    :bang3:

    :eekmouse:

    He must have doubled the economy of Mississippi with all of this garbage!

    Of course he doesn't. :rolleyes:

    I don't care who you are, that's funny.
    :muttley:

    :rolleyes:

    Hey Jim. If you would pay the enlisted members a decent wage, you wouldn't have low income kids on the military base! :mad:

    Yes, there is something wrong with it. The state and local governments and the people in your district have the responsibility of funding these projects specific to your district!

    Attacking the group who developed this study is much easier than taking responsibility for wasting the taxpayers' money.

    I guess both parties can at least agree on something. :bang2:

    Is this the kind of change that Obama is talking about?

    At least someone had shown some restraint!

    Sounds like a fair study.
  5. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    [IMG]
  6. AtlCB

    AtlCB Active Member

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    :lmao2: :lmao2: :lmao2:
  7. AtlCB

    AtlCB Active Member

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    I couldn't agree more.
  8. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    line.item.veto
  9. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    First
  10. AtlCB

    AtlCB Active Member

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    I remember the battle for this in the 90's. The Contract with America republicans and Bill Clinton wanted this too happen, but too many long-term Republicans and Democrats successfully defeated it. :banghead:
  11. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    I wish they would create an amendment to give the President the power of the Line Item Veto. Allow the President the power to strike these items and send the bill back to congress for a vote.

    Right now what we have is any person who votes aginst say a education bill because of some pork project gets labled as one who was aginst education when what he was aginst was some pork project that had nothing to do with education.

    Or this recent example:

    A supplemental appropriations bill intended to provide funding for the war effort in Iraq is being used to promote amnesty for illegal aliens and more low-wage guest workers for powerful business interests. The addition of two amendments to the Iraq War Supplemental Appropriations bill will mean that in order to provide emergency funding for our troops in Iraq, senators will be forced to approve an illegal alien amnesty and expand guest worker programs that harm American workers.


    The Senate Appropriations Committee today included an amendment offered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that would grant a five-year amnesty to 1.35 million illegal aliens working in agriculture, plus their spouses and children, and allow agribusiness to freeze wages for new guest workers at 2007 levels for the next three years. The five-year amnesty would likely be a prelude to permanent legalization for these illegal aliens.


    A second amendment adopted by the committee, sponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), would vastly increase the number of unskilled H-2B guest workers permitted to work in this country. The Mikulski amendment would reinstate the exemption for returning H-2B workers from numerical caps on the program.


    What we witnessed today in the Senate Appropriations Committee is a cynical attempt to use Americans support for our men and women in Iraq to advance blatant special interest legislation that benefits powerful business lobbies, charged Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Tying amnesty for illegal aliens and still more cheap labor for powerful business interests to support for our troops in Iraq is an unconscionable abuse of the appropriations process.


    Now tell me what these items have to do with the funding of our troops?
  12. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    It is maddening. Nothing typifies what is wrong with our current govt more than this deplorable vehicle for waste and greed. Problem is any hope of the LIV coming forth rests with any increasingly D congress...and perhaps a D Exceutive.:(
  13. AtlCB

    AtlCB Active Member

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    Clinton was the only Dem I remember supporting the Line Item Veto. Wasn't it the Republicans who first tried to push this through Congress?

    To be fair, I think the majority of both parties are against it. I think it will take a president willing to fight for the line item veto, a lot of pressure from voters, and a lot of first-term senators to get this passed.
  14. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    I know that both parties tend to be for the line item veto when their president is in office. No doubt I am a Republican but I want to see this happen regardless of what party is in office. I think they can do this in a way that gives the President more leeway than to either veto a bill or not. Allow him to strike items from a bill and send it back for approval. Something needs to be done to stop these excessive spending sprees
  15. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    Do you (anyone) know McCain's position on it?
  16. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    John McCain has led the fight to provide the president with the line item veto. He was a cosponsor of the Line Item Veto Act of 1996, and has continued to support passage of legislation allowing the president to veto individual spending programs. (S.4. introduced 1/4/1995, Became Public Law No: 104-130; Separate Enrollment and Line Item Veto Act of 2006, S. 2443, Introduced 3/16/06)
  17. PosterChild

    PosterChild New Member

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    Thanks. There's maybe a third reason I could in theory stomach a McCain Presidency.
  18. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    Love the number of people who are so eager to give the president MORE power and ignore things that are put in place for a very good reason.
  19. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry I feel strongly about this and will continue to support any move to bring about the Line Item Veto. I do think it is the right thing to do. As for things put into place things change and have changed in the course of our history.
  20. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    I think I have had enough of Admins having unchecked power and swaying the balance of power issues.

    We can agree to disagree. But there are better ways to deal with it instead of giving the President, ANY President, more power.

    I would think if anything we would have learned that by now.

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