(Talon News) — Citizens Against Government Waste, a group that monitors government spending, has designated Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) as the co-porkers of the month for February because of their opposition to President George W. Bush’s budget reforms of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

The president’s budget for fiscal 2006 cuts or ends 154 federal programs including the one supported by the New York senators.

The Bush administration has developed a process they call the Program Assessment Rating Tool to decide which programs are effective and which should be cut or eliminated. Using the parameters set by the tool, the CDBG program was declared ineffective and was deemed to have “unclear purpose, loose targeting requirements, and lack of results,” but it would not be terminated.

The administration recommends CDBG be moved from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to the Department of Commerce and merged with 17 other economic development programs with total funding of $3.7 billion.

Sen. Schumer said federal money supplied through CDBG is “the single most important tool that cities like New York have to grow,” and has referred to the transfer of the program to Commerce as a “shell game.”

Sen. Clinton said the program “is a lifeline for many,” and added that the president wants “to leave them out in the cold.”

Citizens Against Government Waste contends that the taxpayer is the one “left out in the cold,” while paying the billions associated with a program that has no accountability.

Past grants to CDBG programs have included $19,000 for Christmas lights, $21,000 for a picnic, and $250,000 for “streetscape improvements,” according to the taxpayer watchdog group.

HUD describes the purpose of CDBG grants as “to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income persons.”

Citizens Against Government Waste is the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.

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