CAGW Names Chairman Conrad Porker of the Month

For Immediate Release
January 24, 2012

 

Contact:  Leslie K. Paige 202-467-5334 Luke Gelber 202-467-5318

CAGW Names Chairman Conrad Porker of the Month

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, in commemoration/lamentation of the 1,000th day since the United States Senate Budget Committee last performed its most significant task, which is to pass a budget resolution, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) its January Porker of the Month. The last time the Senate approved a budget was April 29, 2009. The House has voted in favor of two budget resolutions during the past two years.

“Today marks an important milestone in fiscal ineptitude and mindless brinksmanship,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz. “When the Senate last passed a budget, the national debt was an already appalling $11.15 trillion. In 2011, House Republicans drafted and passed a budget plan that would dramatically reduce America’s deficit and debt. The only Senate actions on budget resolutions last year were to vote 97-0 against President Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget and 40-57 against House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (D-Wis.) Roadmap for America’s Future.

“Since April 2009, the budget deficit has exceeded $1 trillion for three straight years, and the national debt has climbed by more than $4 trillion to $15.27 trillion,” added Schatz. “Chairman Conrad’s bewildering reputation as a budget hawk makes his legislative catatonia all the more frustrating.”

The lack of activity by Chairman Conrad has not gone unnoticed. In June 2011, Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.) introduced the “Just Do Your Job” Act, which would prohibit further transfer of funds to the House or Senate Budget Committees and the corresponding Office of the Majority Leader if that body of Congress failed to approve a budget resolution for FY 2012. As Rep. Buerkle pointed out at the time, “Even the Libyan government, in the middle of a civil war, passed a budget on June 15, 2011.”

However, Chairman Conrad and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have made it clear that their decision to not enact a budget resolution is conscious, unified, and partisan. In a May 23, 2011 article in The Washington Examiner, Majority Leader Reid said, “There’s no need to have a Democratic budget, in my opinion. It would be foolish for us to do a budget at this stage.” The Examiner article also noted Chairman Conrad’s intent to “defer” work on the fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget indefinitely.

Consequently, for being the Kim Kardashian of the Senate budget entourage and cashing a hefty paycheck for doing nothing in the last 1,000 days, CAGW names Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad its January 2012 Porker of the Month.

CAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.

On February 12, when asked by CNBC “Squawk Box” anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera if the government has a spending problem, Rep. Hoyer insisted, “The country has a paying for problem.  We haven’t paid for what we bought, we haven’t paid for our tax cuts, we haven’t paid for war.”  Nine days later, Rep. Hoyer appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to admit, “There is a spending problem.  What I meant by that was that you don’t have a problem if you pay for what you buy.”

Leaving aside his description of tax cuts – instances in which taxpayers are allowed to keep more of the money they earned – as costs that must be “paid for,” Rep. Hoyer’s refusal to acknowledge that spending is too high regardless of tax rates shows either an ignorance of basic budgeting or a blind adherence to big government talking points.  Federal spending as a percentage of America’s gross domestic product shows no signs of slowing down.  The national debt is $16.5 trillion and climbing.

“Reducing the deficit and restoring economic growth go hand in hand, and the United States has placed itself in a position where leaning heavily on spending cuts is the only appropriate course of action,” said CAGW President Schatz.  “To be fair to Rep. Hoyer, he was largely parroting the arguments of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who have insisted that all would be well if Congress could just have more of the taxpayers’ money.  But at the end of the day, spending must fall, and no amount of rebranding or equivocating can change that reality.”

According to a February 2012 Government Accountability Office report, “Opportunities to Reduce Duplication, Overlap and Fragmentation, Achieve Savings, and Enhance Revenue,” there are 209 federal programs to promote education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math at an annual cost of $3.1 billion across 13 different agencies.  There are 82 teacher quality programs in 10 agencies that cost $10 billion per year, 47 job training programs at nine agencies that cost $18 billion per year, and 56 programs across 20 agencies to promote financial literacy, just to name a few.  CAGW’s 2013 edition of Prime Cuts will be published this week, providing another source of spending cuts for taxpayers, the media, and elected officials.  The most recent version included 691 recommendations that would save $392 billion in one year and $1.8 trillion over five years.

For ignoring the merits of efficient government and for enabling Congress’s addiction to spending, Rep. Steny Hoyer is CAGW’s February 2013 Porker of the Month.

CAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.  Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.

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