John Pritchett Cartoons

John Pritchett Cartoons

BY LESLIE PAIGE – The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) today urged members of Congress to vote against the Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 omnibus spending bill.  According to preliminary analysis by CCAGW, the bill is larded with 6,631 earmarks totaling $8.6 billion.  These preliminary figures do not include anonymous earmarks, items which have been inserted into the bills without an identifiable requester, a direct contravention of House and Senate rules.  In the 2010 Congressional Pig Book, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) uncovered 81 anonymous earmarks worth $6.5 billion.  CAGW is already aware of one anonymous earmark, $450 million for the Joint Strike Fighter alternate engine.

“This bill demonstrates a breathtaking level of congressional cynicism and arrogance,” said CCAGW President Tom Schatz.  “The voters sent an unambiguous message to the politicians in Washington on November 2 that they wanted this self-dealing, pork-barrel spending to end and that they wanted Congress to cut wasteful spending and bring the budget numbers down.  Congress, in effect, is thumbing their collective nose at taxpayers.  Worse yet, members of Congress seem to be completely oblivious as to what taxpayers are upset about.”

On November 15, 2010 in the aftermath of the transformative mid-term elections, Senate Republicans agreed to a two-year moratorium and Speaker-to-be John Boehner (R-Ohio) has promised to impose an earmark ban on the House for the 112th Congress.  “Every member of Congress who voted for the earmark ban should also be voting against this bill,” said Schatz.

CCAGW’s analysis shows that earmarks have again fallen by 50 percent from last year.  But there are thousands of examples of egregious wasteful spending projects in this omnibus:

In the Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill, there is a

  • $6,000,000 earmark for the Mississippi Polymer Institute at the University of Southern Mississippi, requested by Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and
  • $2,500,000 for the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology Coral Research at the University of Hawaii requested by Sens. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii).
  • In Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development there is a $300,000 earmark for a Mount Vernon Avenue Pedestrian Solar Lighting Project in Alexandria, Virginia requested by Rep. James Moran (D-Va.) and
  • $200,000 for  renovations and streetscape enhancements in the downtown business district of Winsted, Connecticut requested by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).
  • In Defense, Reps. Robert Brady (D-Pa.), James Moran (D-Va.), Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.), Mark Critz (D-Pa.) and Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) have inserted $10,000,000 for the John P. Murtha Foundation and
  • Rep. Edward Markey (D- Mass.) has sponsored an $8,000,000 earmark for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

Submitted by Leslie K. Paige for CCAGW, the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.

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