Cutting Pork: With a Bus

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: May 09, 2006 2:16 PM

Americans for Prosperity is starting the second leg of their End Earmarks Express tour of the nation;s most egregious pork projects.

They're trippin' through the Northeast this time.

Here's my favorite example:

Hyannis, Mass. -- $382,000 for the Cape Cod / Hyannis Gateway and $100,000 for a life-size bronze statue of JFK

You know, because the people of Hyannis can't afford such things.

For more on the bus tour, see here.

In other news, The Heritage Foundation explains what's happening to that porky emergency supplemental bill that Coburn was fighting so hard on.

The Senate, of course, piled all manner of non-emergency, non-essential spending onto the emergency spending bill meant to fund the troops and disaster relief and thus came in well above the number laid out in the President's veto threat--$109 billion compared to the President's $92.2 billion. The responsible way for the Senate to deal with this would be to just strip out the non-emergency spending and present to the President a clean bill that he can sign without any qualms.

But one senior aide to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is too clever for such a simple move. According to CQ Today, Frist's top budget aide, William Hoagland has proposed an across-the-board cut in the supplemental spending to bring the bill's total cost into line with the President's initial request and veto threat. Just cut everything by the same amount, it seems, and the bill will slide right under the President's cap. It's an easy way out and, as Hoagland pitches it, an easy way for Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert to reach common ground. The entire difference between the Senate's bill and the President's request could be traversed by a 13-or-so percent across-the-board cut.

But easy and simple aren't necessarily good. Relative to the President's request for emergency spending, an across-the-board cut would reduce funding for defense in the supplemental--money for our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq to meet needs that are the very purpose of this legislation--by $9.6 billion. An across-the-board cut would also chop $2.6 billion from funding to respond to the actual emergency of Hurricane Katrina.