CAGW Names Rep. Markey Porker of the Month

For Immediate Release

Contact:  Leslie K. Paige    202.467.5334

July 25, 2011

Luke Gelber    202.467.5318

 

(Washington, D.C.) - Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass.) its July 2011 Porker of the Month for accusing proponents of federal spending cuts of indifference toward potential victims of weather emergencies.  On July 19, 2011, Rep. Markey issued a press release in which he accused House Republicans of “foolishly cutting funding for our nation’s weather and climate forecasters.”  According to Rep. Markey, reducing expenditures for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – which contains the National Weather Service (NWS) – “won’t change the climate or end a heat wave, but … will lengthen the time it takes to alert our citizens about an incoming storm, or reduce our ability to give our nation’s farmers the information they need to manage their crops.”  Rep. Markey added, “When a tornado or other deadly weather event is bearing down on you, minutes matter.  Yet these kinds of vital capabilities don’t seem to matter to House Republicans.” 

Contrary to Rep. Markey’s accusations, spending at the NOAA is greater than ever, and dramatically higher than it was just a few years ago.  Its budget is slated to reach $5.5 billion in fiscal year 2012, an increase of 46 percent since 2002.  And private organizations have been performing many of the functions of NOAA and NWS for decades.  AccuWeather, founded in 1962, hosts more meteorologists at its headquarters than any other location in the world, and the Weather Channel, founded in 1981, provides storm tracking and forecasts for 98,000 locations around the globe.  Both companies disseminate vital weather information on the Internet, television, and radio 24 hours a day. 

CAGW President Tom Schatz said, “Rep. Markey, like many supporters of ever-expanding government spending, is under the impression that every federal outlay is essential.  He suffers from ‘Washington Monument Syndrome,’ or ‘Mount Rushmore Syndrome,’ a common affliction among politicians who expect that cuts to any agency will immediately result in the termination of government’s most visible functions.  Just as reductions to the National Park Service budget will not automatically cause Abraham Lincoln’s stone likeness in South Dakota to crumble, cuts to NOAA will not abruptly put Americans unwittingly in the path of a tornado or tsunami. 

“Private organizations can and will easily pick up any slack created by lower funding for NOAA and the NWS,” added Schatz.  “Weather forecasting and storm tracking would survive and thrive, and there would likely be even more competition to improve the gathering and dissemination of weather forecasts.”

For insinuating that politicians and citizens keen to prevent a fiscal disaster are guilty of apathy toward weather disaster victims, Rep. Edward Markey is CAGW’s July 2011 Porker of the Month.

Citizens Against Government Waste 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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