TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP URGES PRESIDENT NOT TO BE BULLIED BY CONGRESS

For Immediate Release    Contact:  Jim Campi
October 24, 1997 (202) 467-5300

 

(Washington, D.C.) – The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) today urged the President not to succumb to congressional pressure to reinstate programs line-item vetoed from the FY 1997 Military Construction Appropriations Act.  According to press reports, the White House is reconsidering the veto of 14 pork barrel spending projects originally included in the spending bill.

“The President is setting a dangerous precedent by bowing to political pressure to reinstate pork barrel projects,” stated CCAGW President Thomas A. Schatz.  “If anything, the President didn’t veto enough pork.  Of the 129 projects we identified as wasteful spending in the bill, he only vetoed 38 of them.”

In recent weeks, the President has come under fire from Congress for using the line-item veto to excise wasteful spending in the balanced budget agreement and several appropriations bills.  Many members of Congress have expressed both surprise and outrage at the vetoes – including members who voted to give the President line-item veto authority in the first place.  In one instance, Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah) said, “I feel like I need to eat a little crow.  I’m prepared…to reconsider my position.”

CCAGW has established seven criteria for identifying pork-barrel spending in appropriations bills.  These criteria are:  (1) requested by only one chamber of Congress; (2) not specifically authorized; (3) not competitively awarded; (4) not requested in the President’s budget; (5) greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or FY 1997 funding levels; (6) not subject to congressional hearings; or (7) serves only a local or special interest.  CCAGW uses these criteria in the organization’s Congressional Pig Book, an annual compilation of wasteful spending perpetrated by members of Congress.

“The line-item veto makes the President the last line of defense for taxpayers against the big spenders on Capitol Hill,” remarked Schatz.  “He must not allow himself to be bullied by a handful of disgruntled congressmen throwing tantrums over the loss of their prized pork barrel projects.”

CCAGW is a 600,000 member lobbying organization dedicated to seeking enactment of legislation to eliminate waste, inefficiency, mismanagement and abuse in the federal government.

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