and you thought things would change under the Democrats

Discussion in 'Politics' started by sputdr, Mar 27, 2007.

  1. They fooled you.

    Senate war bill features $20B in pork
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    The Senate now has its version of an “emergency” war spending bill with nearly $20 billion in pork-barrel outlays, including $100 million for the two major political parties’ 2008 presidential conventions. WASHINGTON (Map, News) - Like their counterparts in the House, the Senate has larded its version of an “emergency” war spending bill with nearly $20 billion in pork-barrel outlays, including $100 million for the two major political parties’ 2008 presidential conventions.

    The $121 billion bill includes $102 billion for the troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as $14 billion for Hurricane Katrina aid and more than $4 billion for “emergency farm relief.”

    “Congress will have to make the choice between booze and balloons or bullets and body armor,” John Hart, a spokesman for Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., told The Examiner on Monday. Coburn and a handful of other senators hope to shame their colleagues into stripping the pork out of the war spending bill.


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    The Senate bill is $18 billion more than President Bush requested for military operations. The House bill, which passed last week, exceeded the administration’s request by $21 billion and included money for spinach growers, peanut storage and citrus farmers.

    If the Senate bill goes to conference committee as written, the two chambers may find themselves fighting over the best cuts of pork.

    Coburn and his fellow pork foes will offer a series of amendments this week aimed at eliminating fat domestic spending or redirecting it to crucial needs for soldiers, sailors and airmen.

    “Maybe this is what Democrats mean by ‘phased redeployment’,” Hart said.

    Senate Appropriations Chairman Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., Monday defended the extra spending, describing it as “common sense and good economics.”

    “Funding for the war is not the only critical need worthy of the supplemental spending,” he said. The war “must not obliterate every other concern.”

    The $100 million for the political party conventions — $50 million for the Democratic convention in Denver and $50 million for the Republican convention in St. Paul, Minn. — is included in a section described as “Katrina recovery, veterans’ care and for other purposes.”

    The Senate Appropriations Committee noted that the committee provided roughly $50 million to help defray the costs of policing the 2004 conventions. A senate staffer pointed out, however, that the 2004 funding earned approval through the normal appropriations process rather than the less-stringent “emergency” process permitted for the current bill.

    The new bill also includes $13 million for “ewe replacement and retention,” $24 million for sugar beets growers and $95 million for dairy producers.

    Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the bill contains “enough in each of the four food groups for a balanced meal.”

    And it includes $3.5 million for the Capitol’s guided–tour program and $20 million for, in part, insect infestation control in Nevada, thanks to Majority Leader Harry Reid.

    Among the other beneficiaries of the Senate “emergency” war bill is the tree assistance program, including, specifically, Christmas trees.

    “This bill is both literally and figuratively a Christmas tree,” said one Senate staffer who has studied the bill.