CAGW Calls to Eliminate DOI’s “Save America’s Treasures”

For Immediate Release
February 17, 2011

 

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

CAGW Calls to Eliminate DOI’s “Save America’s Treasures”

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) issued its weekly spending cut alert aimed at the Department of the Interior’s Save America’s Treasures (SAT) grant program. CAGW has long criticized the program, which has been the source of tens of millions of dollars in pork for a decade. Terminating SAT would save taxpayers $30 million dollars this year and $150 million over five years.

The program was never intended to last this long. Save America’s Treasures was started in 1999 by President Bill Clinton as a two-year program to commemorate the millennium by restoring historic documents and buildings. Funds were initially provided for the restoration of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the flag that inspired our national anthem, as well as for distribution across the country based on a competitive application process.

However, Congress quickly latched on to SAT as an easy source of pork. President Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2012 Terminations, Reductions, and Savings report recommended the elimination of the program because “at least half of SAT projects are annually earmarked by Congress, without using merit-based criteria.” The President’s criticism was even stronger in FY 2011, stating that SAT “has not demonstrated how it contributes to nationwide historic preservation goals,” and that its demise would allow the National Park Service to “focus resources on managing national parks and other activities that most closely align with its core mission.” Further, SAT’s initiatives are largely duplicative of those already funded and carried out by the National Historic Preservation Act.

CAGW President Tom Scatz said, “SAT is yet another example of a government program begun with good intentions that has become bloated and redundant. This year, Congress has promised to look hard for wasteful programs, but SAT can be identified without a careful search. Cutting SAT will help Save America’s Budget.”

The Save America’s Treasures program has been part of CAGW’s Prime Cuts database since 2001. Prime Cuts is a compendium of 763 waste-cutting recommendations that would save taxpayers $350 billion in the first year and $2.2 trillion over five years.

Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. To learn more, visit www.cagw.org.

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