[FoRK] Congress critters out of control

Adam L Beberg beberg
Wed Sep 21 09:51:59 PDT 2005

Wow. $264 per taxpayer in "projects that have neither been requested by 
the administration nor deemed worthy by a congressional committee". 
Check out the site at the end of the article.

These guys are so corrupt and out of touch with reality it's just 
amazing. We need to get rid of every last one of them, assuming it's not 
already too late. Sadly, getting rid of a congress critter once they 
have infected the host is almost impossible. Is there any hope left for 
America not ending in bankruptcy?

But at least there are people even more gullible then the American voter 
- US bondholders.


Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/krwashbureau/_wea_katrina_congress

Recovery's cost forces lawmakers to reassess pet spending projects
By James Kuhnhenn, Knight Ridder Newspapers
Tue Sep 20, 7:23 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Pressure is growing to help pay for Hurricane Katrina's 
costs by getting members of Congress to give up the pet spending 
projects they've inserted into legislation for their states or districts.

But some top lawmakers are decidedly unenthusiastic.

"Kiss my ear!" Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, told a Fairbanks newspaper 
reporter when asked whether he'd return the $223 million he'd 
"earmarked" for a bridge in the Alaskan outback. Young is chairman of 
the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Earmarks are projects that have neither been requested by the 
administration nor deemed worthy by a congressional committee. Over the 
years they've become as prevalent as grease on a machine's gears. The 
1991 transportation bill contained 538 earmarks. This year's had 4,373. 
Last year's catchall appropriations bill, which wrapped together seven 
of the 13 annual spending bills, contained 8,000 earmarks totaling $10 

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, scoffed at the suggestion that 
he give up his earmarks, saying highway projects in his district 
contributed to economic growth. One watchdog group estimated DeLay's 
total earmarks at $114.4 million over five years.

"My earmarks are pretty important to building an economy in that 
region," DeLay said. "What's good about the highway bill ... is it 
creates hundreds of thousands of jobs. It is an economic engine that 
drives the economy."

Still, as pressure grows to reduce Katrina's bite from the federal 
budget, many lawmakers are being forced to take a second look at their 
appetites for federal money.

In Bozeman, Mont., a citizens' group petitioned its congressional 
delegation to rescind the $4 million the city obtained for a parking 
garage and direct the money instead to Katrina's victims. Rep. Mike 
Pence (news, bio, voting record), R-Ind., a leading conservative in the 
House of Representatives, said he'd give up his $16 million in 
highway-bill earmarks to help pay Katrina's costs.

But the usual refrain in Congress is that "one congressman's `pork' is 
another's bacon."

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who guided $130 million 
in special projects into the highway bill, said Tuesday that she'd give 
up her own earmarks to help the devastated region. Later, however, she 
amended her stance, saying she wouldn't give up a $50 million 
retrofitting project for the Golden Gate Bridge to protect the span from 

Rep. Henry Waxman (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., railed against 
Republicans for inserting special spending projects that he said were 
"out of control." But when he was asked whether he'd give up his own $16 
million in pet projects, Waxman replied: "How about everybody's 
earmarks? ... If you want to get rid of all the pork barrel projects, 
I'm for that."

Getting rid of earmarks alone would hardly make up for Katrina spending, 
however, which may total $200 billion before it's done. Highway bill 
earmarks total only $24.2 billion over five years. Even if they all were 
rescinded, that would save only $9.8 billion over five years because 
much of the money would go to states anyway under complicated allocation 

Katrina's costs, however, clearly are fraying congressional relations, 
particularly within Republican ranks. Vice President Dick Cheney and 
White House Budget Director Joshua Bolten told Senate Republicans on 
Tuesday that the administration will seek more money for Katrina relief 
and reconstruction in mid-October. Congress already has approved almost 
$62 billion.

The Katrina discussion, held during a closed-door luncheon in the 
Capitol, prompted many Republicans to complain that the administration 
was too eager to spend money on the devastated region without providing 
adequate financial safeguards and recommending ways to pay the expense.

But several senators said no one recommended giving back his or her 
earmarks. And when Sen. Judd Gregg (news, bio, voting record), R-N.H., 
recommended a balanced package of spending cuts and revenue increases, 
he was met with stony silence.

Asked whether there were any alternative options worth pursuing to pay 
for Katrina, Sen. Pete Domenici (news, bio, voting record), R-N.M., 
replied: "There aren't any. Everybody's mad."


A list of top earmarks, or "pork" projects, in this year's 
highway-spending bill compiled by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a budget 
watchdog group, is on the group's Web site at 

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