NATIONAL TAXPAYER WATCHDOG SAYS PORK-BARREL SPENDING IS HAMPERING ALLIED EFFORT IN BALKANS

For Immediate Release Contact: Jim Campi or Aaron Taylor
April 7, 1999 (202) 467-5300

(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), America’s largest taxpayer watchdog group, today reiterated the devastating impact of wasteful pork-barrel spending on U.S. military preparedness.  In its 1999 Congressional Pig Book, CAGW cited $6.1 billion in wasteful defense spending, enough to provide thousands of cruise missiles to allied forces in the Balkans.

“For those who say pork-barrel spending is no big deal – that a few million dollars here or there is simply chump change – the impact of government waste on defense spending is now revealed for all to see,” remarked CAGW President Thomas A. Schatz.  “A Tomahawk cruise missile costs $1 million, and an air-launched cruise missile costs $1.9 million.  If Congress had not wasted $6.1 billion on frivolous defense projects and programs, the Pentagon could have had 6,000 more Tomahawks or 3,200 more air-launched missiles.”

For example, given the cost of these missiles, one can easily calculate how many could be purchased if the following pork-barrel items had not been added to the fiscal 1999 Defense Appropriations Act:

  • $7 million for the Center for Excellence for Research Ocean Sciences and $4 million for agriculturally based bioremediation in the state of Senate appropriator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii);
  • $5 million for the National Center for Industrial Competitiveness added by Defense Appropriations Subcommittee member David Hobson (R-Ohio), even though the Air Force concluded the center had little military value; and,
  • $1 million for the Lewis and Clark Exhibit in the district of House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee member Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), whose staff claimed it was relevant to defense because the 19th-century explorers were commissioned officers.

While praising the efforts of noted pork-busters Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Reps. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and David Minge (D-Minn.) to bring wasteful defense spending under control, Schatz noted that, “The opponents of pork-barrel spending have long been engaged in a lonely fight.  With this new evidence of the consequences of wasting limited defense funds, perhaps members of Congress will realize they have a larger responsibility beyond just bringing home the bacon.”

 

 

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