Appropriations

The Ongoing Farce of the “Emergency Supplementals”

As the House of Representatives rushed to finish legislative business in advance of the Memorial Day recess, the fate of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010Supplemental Appropriations Bill was pushed off until lawmakers returnon June 8.  The bill allocates $37.5 billion to support ongoing war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Unfortunately, it also piles on tens of billions of dollars in additional funding for dozens of non-emergency items, all of which add to the $1.56 trillion annual deficit and the national debt, which topped $13 trillion on May 25, 2010, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The First Cut Is The Lamest, Not The Deepest

In February, President Obama introduced a $3.69 trillion budget for the 2010 fiscal year, a proposal that would, according the Heritage Foundation, increase spending by $1 trillion over the next ten years, lead to a 12 percent increase in discretionary spending, and leave permanent deficits averaging $600 billion even after the economy recovers.  In a peace offering to get some political cover for this explosion of spending, President Obama called for his cabinet to make $100 million worth of spending cuts.  

Ethical Lapses

In November, 2006, just after the sweeping victory by Democrats in the House of Representatives, the newly-minted Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) promised that her leadership team would create “the most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress in history.”  This seems like ancient history now.  Since then, the House has been rocked by several allegations of unethical conduct.  Yet, the House leadership’s general reaction to the ethical violations that seem to bloom almost daily appear to follow a pattern of partisan posturing and denial, followed immediately by paralysis, and ending with little or no accountability.

Obama’s Earmark Reform? ShamWow!

On March 11, 2009 President Obama signed the fiscal year (FY) 2009 omnibus appropriations bill, which contained the nine remaining 2009 spending bills worth $410 billion.  After making dizzying campaign promises to eliminate congressional earmarking once he won the Oval Office, the President, out of the sight of the media, signed a bill containing thousands earmarks and schooled taxpayers on his new and revised view of earmarks.

Stimulus Turns Federal Funding Spigot Into a Raging Firehose

With our nation’s faltering economy, businesses, communities, and families are undoubtedly suffering.  However, they will not receive relief in the near future from the Democrat’s new federal fiscal stimulus proposal.  According to a stimulus spending outlay chart released by Appropriations Committee Republicans, only seven percent of the funding will be spent this fiscal year and 18 percent of the total funding will remain unspent until fiscal year 2014 or later.

Rep. Hal Rogers “Road to Nowhere.”

The Kentucky Courier Journal ran a series of articles on December 16 and 17, 2007, on a wasteful pork project, the proposed Interstate 66.  This is another “road to nowhere” that dramatically demonstrates how a politician’s desire to “bring home the bacon” trumps other needed public works.

Pork is Alive and Well

The new fiscal year dawned on October 1 without a federal budget and the Congress graciously granted itself another six weeks to complete its constitutional mandate to pass all 12 appropriations bills.  If it feels like déjà vu, that’s because it is.

Rep. Boyda Imprisons Taxpayer Money for Museum

Rep. Nancy Boyda (D-Kansas) deserves to “do some time” for her theft from the taxpayers of $100,000 for an egregious earmark she added to the 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act.  The Kansas Regional Prisons Museum is set to receive the money to establish a site dedicated to the state’s historical and infamous penitentiaries and prisoners.

The Rail Subsidy That Could

Parents and children alike are familiar with the story, “The Little Engine That Could.”  Through perseverance and sheer determination, a small train engine pulled a train over a steep mountain even with the odds stacked against it and when other train engines didn’t think it possible.  It appears that Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) is twisting the lessons of that book into a rail subsidy that could be the biggest taxpayer rip-off ever.  He helped to secure a $2.3 billion loan from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to expand and improve the Dakota, Minnesota, and Eastern Railroad (DM&E), which is used primarily to transport coal from Wyoming to Minnesota. 

Iowa Nonprofit is Latest Earmark Outrage

The Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium (CIETC) is a nonprofit organization that provides job-training services for the Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) program.  As extensively reported by The Des Moines Register, the group’s top three executives were recently fired after a state audit found that they collected a combined $1.8 million in salaries over 30 months.  Congressional earmarks and breakdown of oversight allowed a cadre of greedy schemers to enrich themselves at taxpayer expense.

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