10.01.2008 0

Spending Orgy War Bill Passes Senate

  • On: 10/09/2008 11:54:48
  • In: Fiscal Responsibility
  • “It was an orgy of un-vetted, pork barrel spending coming at the expense of funding our troops.” – Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), May 22nd, 2008.

    Senator Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) reaction to the Senate’s passage of the 2008 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act was not unwarranted.

    The bill, initially designed to fund the current military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been porked out to the limit with wasteful spending, as senators shamefully scrambled to add pet project spending to a “must-pass” bill – and indeed it was passed, 92-1.

    A quick glance at the bill reveals multiple non-military related pork projects – such as $110 million for state unemployment insurance programs, $178 million for federal prison system salaries and expenses, $75 million to help fight avian flu globally, $204 million to give away to countries fighting drugs and crime – and, to cap it off, a tax raise on individual income earned over $500,000, to help finance the new GI Bill contained within this spending package. This tax raise, billed as “not hurting” the “rich” who can “afford” it, will also impact small businesses, many of whom cannot afford it – and may not survive it.

    Adding insult to injury, the bill concludes:

    “Each amount in each title of this Act is designated as an emergency requirement and necessary to meet emergency needs…”

    Whose emergencies? Whose needs? Whose duplicitous piling on at the expense of America’s soldiers in the field?

    In essence, Congress is exploiting the nation’s fighting men and women in harm’s way every day by attaching unnecessary, unrelated spending to legislation that if it does not pass would leave them at war without the resources they need to carry on the fight.

    A similar bill passed the House nearly unanimously (409-2). But some amendments to the bill which were added in the Senate, are seeing much slimmer margins of passage in the House – with some failing – as the bill is readied for conference committee hearings. (ALG News will keep you apprised of the conferees should there be any chance of righting the bill’s wrongs in the conference committee.)

    The next step is for President Bush to veto the bill as he promised. While it is assured an easy veto-override in the Senate, the House may find it harder to pass, with all the pork present. The President should make clear that he will not tolerate a bill to support the troops in harm’s way that politicians use to forward their own self-serving pet political projects.

    ALG CTA: Concerned journalists should urge their readers to contact their Representative or Senator and push them to kill the pork while the bill is in conference committee.

    If that fails, concerned citizens should contact the White House, asking President Bush to follow through on his veto-threat, followed by readers contacting their Representative and urging him or her to vote against a veto override, unless the pork is stripped from the bill.


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