Hurricane Porky Blows Through Capitol Hill | Citizens Against Government Waste

Hurricane Porky Blows Through Capitol Hill

Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseContact: Mark Carpenter/Tom Finnigan
September 13, 2004(202) 467-5300


Congress prepares to bulk up emergency supplemental with pork

(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today issued a Category 5 warning to taxpayers that members of Congress are preparing to take advantage of the devastation caused by Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Ivan to fund their own parochial projects.  House Appropriations Chairman Bill Young (R-Fla.) will introduce an emergency supplemental bill to help pay for damages caused by the storms, and members are already looking for ways to tack on pork.

“Congress simply has no shame.  Knowing that this is most likely the last opportunity to bring home the bacon before the election, members are busy maneuvering behind the scenes to add their pet projects to the emergency supplemental,” CAGW President Tom Schatz said.  “Considering the record $422 billion budget deficit this year, loading the bill with pork could be more costly than cleaning up after the three hurricanes.”

Of equal concern, Congress is behind schedule in passing the 13 annual appropriations bills.  To date, only the Defense bill has been signed into law, the Senate has yet to complete any of the others, while the House has passed all but Transportation/Treasury and Veterans Affairs/Housing and Urban Development.  The Homeland Security bill may carry the emergency supplemental bill, but the prospects are dim for the rest.

“In a replay of previous years, Congress will not finish the budget before the end of the fiscal year,” Schatz continued.  “Usually an election year provides members with more incentive to pass appropriations earlier so that they can brag to their constituents about the pork they received.  Since they are running out of time this year, members will take advantage of the aftermath of the stormy weather to have their projects funded.”

Last week, in response to Charley, Congress passed a clean emergency supplemental bill, but there is no indication that will happen again.  Emergency supplemental bills do not count against the budget caps the House and Senate set in place, thus allowing projects to be funded with the appearance that discretionary funding is under control.  In addition to parochial projects, funding for NASA programs and drought relief are expected to be added to the second emergency bill.

“Knowing that no member is going to vote against a bill that provides hurricane relief, Congress is taking advantage of the situation for their own self-interest,” Schatz concluded.  “Not only is this fiscally irresponsible, but it hampers the effort to efficiently direct the money to cleanup efforts.  It is outrageous that Congress cannot behave appropriately after such natural disasters.”

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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