Porkbusters: Schweinefleisch Update

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: May 12, 2006 1:02 PM

Good news from House Majority Leader John Boehner on the pork front. He says the emergency spending supplemental for Katrina and Iraq will require prioritizing, not across-the board cuts.

This is the same bill I've been talking about since last week-- the emergency bill that's loaded with pork and the President has threatened to veto if it doesn't come in under his figure.

So, instead of making hard decisions about what should stay and what should go, lawmakers want to just cut the whole bill down, thereby taking money away from real Katrina relief and troops funding for things like the Railroad to Nowhere.

Boehner says 'nuh-uh':

"On the issue of spending in the supplemental spending bill, as I said last week, the House is committed to supporting the President's call to not spend one dollar more than what he called for, for the emergency supplemental spending bill for Katrina victims and the War in Iraq.

"Now there's been some trial balloon that has been floated that maybe we ought to have some across-the-board cut in all of these requests so that some of this additional spending, I'm sure well-intentioned and I'm sure well-meaning, can be found room for in this emergency supplemental spending bill.

"Now I think we need to put the emergency back in the emergency supplemental spending bill. This is for the War in Iraq to help our troops over there have what they need and to help those victims in the Gulf Coast in their efforts to see their recovery move ahead. It's not for all the other wishes and wants that some members on the other side of the body would like to have. So with that, let's put our troops first, let's take care of the people who've been displaced from their homes, and then the other requests we can handle in the ordinary course of business."

Mark Tapscott thinks the across-the-board cut is just the political fig-leaf the White House is looking for.

Over at the Club, Andy highlights some egregious pork spending and an egregiously cheesy quote from Rep. Jeff Flake, who always does a good job of shining the light on these things.

And, up in Alaska-- the pork capital of the United States of America, with a whopping $490 per capita last year in other people's money-- we find that the Alaska Permanent Fund is topping $35 billion right now.

The Alaska Permanent Fund's value topped $35 billion for the first time Friday.

Voters created the fund in 1976 to save some of the cash bonanza expected when Prudhoe Bay oil fields started production in 1977. The fund still gets some of the state's oil revenue, but most of its growth these days is due to investment gains.

So, why is the rest of the country paying for the state's various Trestles to Dubious Destinations? It would seem Alaska could handle its own gratuitous road construction.

I saw Rep. Marsha Blackburn speak today, and she connected the earmark issue to the fact that the government is just too dadgum big (That's my adjective, not hers. Wouldn't want to smear the good Congresswoman.)

She said the government is so big, people can't figure out how to get it to deliver the services they want delivered, so they hire a lobbyist to navigate D.C. for them. Lobbyists know that the easiest way to get things funded, especially things of questionable value, is to get them in earmarks that don't have to be defended.

Changing that practice, she said, is part of getting serious about waste, abuse, and fraud.

Blackburn voted against the supplemental because of the pork, and doesn't think the House will stand for across-the-board cuts.

Check Porkbusters for running updates on the debate.