Commerce Bill Filled With Earmarks

For Immediate Release
August 2, 2011


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

Washington, D.C. – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today released its preliminary analysis of the House version of the fiscal year (FY) 2012 Commerce Appropriations Act. The bill allocates $50.6 billion for the Department of Commerce, Justice, and Science, among other agencies; $7.4 billion below the President’s budget request.

Unfortunately for taxpayers, the bill contains 12 earmarks worth $368.4 million that either were not requested by the President, represent a substantial increase over the budget request, and/or were only added by the House, thus meeting CAGW’s long-established earmark criteria. This represents a 98 percent decrease from the 643 projects in FY 2011 and a 60 percent increase in cost from the FY 2011 amount of $229.8 million.

The following are some of the most outrageous examples of pork that members of the House added to the Agriculture bill:

  • $237,800,000 to the NASA Space Exploration Crew Vehicle and Launch System, both part of the Constellation Systems Program. CAGW recommended in its 2011 Prime Cuts to eliminate Constellation after years of missed deadlines and cost overruns. In 2010, the Constellation Program was cancelled by the President, but the 2012 Commerce bill confirms that the program continues to receive funding.
  • $14,957,000 to the National Weather Service (NWS) for operations, research, statistics, and construction. CAGW recommended in Prime Cuts to reduce funding to NWS by 30 percent. Private companies such as AccuWeather and the Weather Channel distribute weather information 24 hours a day on television, the Internet, and radio.
  • $10,000,000 to Salmon Management Activities Hatcheries. While the FY 2012 bill fails to identify the specific locations funding is being directed, CAGW found earmarks in previous years for fish hatcheries. In FY 2006, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration received $16.7 million for Columbia River hatcheries. Even without the current debt crisis and rising deficit this earmark is unnecessary.

Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.

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