Omnibus Spending Bill Worsens Deficit as Republicans and Democrats Make U.S. Look Stupid
|December 6, 2003||Posted by Staff under The Progress Report|
Republicans and Democrats Make U.S. Look Stupid
Here is a news update from Taxpayers for Common Sense. TCS is the best organization that monitors excessive government spending, corruption and corporate welfare.
DERAIL THE PORK TRAIN It’s that time of year again — time for lawmakers to mash up all of their unfinished spending bills and stuff them, and a few thousand secret ingredients, into the gutted intestines of an 2500 page conglomeration. Although Congress calls this the Omnibus bill, we like to refer to it as making sausage. Another tradition of this process is to get every legislator to agree on it, without casting a public vote on this seven-bill Frankenstein. Everyone’s just counting on their colleagues to roll over and let it through because no one wants to lie on the tracks when the last legislative train is leaving Capitol Hill.
It might be a losing battle, but budget watchdogs like Taxpayers for Common Sense don’t know how to play dead (we don’t sit or roll over either). This bill is slathered with frivolous, bizarre, and unnecessary spending, and once again we are urging members of the House and the Senate to kick this legislation to the curb. The House may vote on the bill as early as Monday December 8, so hold on to your wallets.
The biggest threats in this bill are actually small — perhaps only a few hundred thousand dollars a piece. But there are a whole lot of them. This phenomenon, called earmarking, is where lawmakers add corrupt provisions to a spending bill without putting them through the rigors of congressional oversight. Blind tolerance of these pet projects adds up to billions of dollars of wasted spending and it has gone out of control. This year, we are expected to surpass the record year of 2002, when more than 9,300 earmarks cost taxpayers more than $22.5 billion.
The number one problem with pet projects is they are harder than heck to kill. A dedicated legislator with a big campaign contributor to please will not give up easily. Making a repeat performance in the Omnibus bill is Senator Grassley’s $50 million indoor rainforest in Iowa, which was stripped from the energy bill just a couple weeks ago when early criticism of the project threatened that bill’s passage. The project is more likely to be overlooked in the $820 billion Omnibus, which is so huge that it makes million dollar projects look like chump change.
Grassley’s pet project is only the very tip of the iceberg. Consider the $400,000 going to the Trout Genome Mapping project. Ostensibly, the project will help us learn to grow artificial trout faster, but whoever is getting the money has made a whopper of a catch at the public’s expense. Then there’s $225,000 in corporate welfare for the National Wild Turkey Federation, to promote wild turkey hunting as a traditional North American sport. There’s also $200,000 for the University of Hawaii to produce a documentary on a hunting technique used by Kalahari Bushmen.
All of the above are “small” projects, but the Omnibus contains more of them than we can count — the Alabama beef connection, the dairy indemnity program, a program to make salmon baby food, a bluegrass pride promotion, an international fertilizer development center, and swimming pools for Nevada and California.
Our own Austin Clemens’s mother is worth quoting here for her fiscal wisdom. Whenever she finds a penny on the sidewalk or a bit of change in the washer, she says, “Pennies add up to nickels, and nickels add up to dimes.” Some of the Omnibus’ poor provisions may not seem like much on their own, but they add up to a full-scale assault on the public purse. With hitorically high budget deficits, taxpayers can no longer afford a legislature that lets pork slip under the radar
For more information, contact Keith Ashdown at (202)-546-8500 ext. 110 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
TCS is at www.taxpayer.net
If Republicans and Democrats cannot contain runaway federal spending, then we will need to replace them with political parties that understand how to balance a budget. We need strong American leaders, not corrupt anti-Americans. Share your views with The Progress Report!