The outrage of millions of taxpayers following the $700 billion
bank bailout and the $787 billion stimulus bill did not stop
Congress from passing and President Obama from signing a
bloated $410 billion Omnibus Appropriations Act in March. With
the subsequent approval of the President’s budget, the national
debt will triple over the next 10 years. That leaves plenty of
opportunities for pork to remain pervasive in the nation’s capital.
The fiscal year 2009 appropriations process was unique as three of
the appropriations bills (Defense, Homeland Security and Military
Construction) were passed and signed on September 30, 2008
under a different Congress and President. But the change in
control in the White House did not change the culture of corruption
that surrounds pork-barrel spending.
Among the many story lines that played out during the crafting and
eventual passing of the Omnibus Act was that former Senator Ted
Stevens (R-Alaska) had his name eliminated from the nine
appropriations bills in the Omnibus, yet a deceased member,
former members, and Cabinet members remained. If the new
Congress had time to scrub Sen. Stevens’ name from the Omnibus,
they surely had plenty of time to scrub the bill of all earmarks.
The latest installment of Citizens Against Government Waste’s
(CAGW) 19-year exposé of pork-barrel spending includes
$3,800,000 for the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy; $1,900,000
for the Pleasure Beach water taxi service project; and $1,791,000
for swine odor and manure management research.
In fiscal year 2009, Congress stuffed 10,160 projects into the 12
appropriations bills worth $19.6 billion. The projects represent a
12.5 percent decrease from the 11,610 projects in fiscal year 2008.
The $19.6 billion is a 14 percent increase over the fiscal year 2008
total of $17.2 billion, belying claims of reduced spending. Total
pork identified by CAGW since 1991 adds up to $290 billion.
Alaska once again led the natio