PORK ALERT | Citizens Against Government Waste


Press Release

With the White House and Congress trading accusations about who really wants to spend the Social Security surplus, pork has taken on more significance than ever before.  If previous years are any guide, pork-barrel spending is likely to exceed $13 billion this year – enough to trim the budget by 4 percent.  Here are some of the more hideous examples of pork-barrel in this year’s spending bills:

Agriculture Appropriations bill (signed into law 10/22/99):

  • Center for Rural Studies, Vermont:  $200,000 earmarked for a Center for Rural Studies in the state of Senate Appropriator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).  This money goes for studies on the development of retail shopping areas and strategies for using the Internet.  Since 1992, $637,000 has been appropriated for this research.
  • Swine Waste Management, North Carolina:  $500,000 for research into pig doo-doo.  The money goes to the North Carolina State University, in the district of House Appropriator David Price (D-N.C.).
  • Vidalia Onions Research, Georgia:  $100,000 for vidalia onions research in Georgia, in the district of House Agriculture Committee member Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.).  Believe it or not, this questionable research grant goes primarily toward “developing pungency testing procedures” for vidalia onions.  Georgia received $100,000 for similar research in fiscal 1999.
  • Viticulture Consortium, California and New York:  $1.1 million for a viticulture consortium in California and New York, a corporate handout for the wine industry.  Since 1996, taxpayers have been squeezed $3.9 million to pay for the consortium.

Defense Appropriations bill (signed into law 10/25/99):

  • Supersonic Aircraft Noise Mitigation:  $15 million inserted by Senate Appropriations Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) for development of a supersonic business jet by Gulfstream Corp.
  • LHD-8 Helicopter Carrier:  No one in the Pentagon asked for it, but Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) got $375 million to start building it anyway.  The ship, which will cost $1.5 billion to complete, will be built at the Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. – literally in Trent Lott’s front yard.
  • Five F-15 Fighters:  Although not requested by the Defense Department, Congress plans to spend $275 million to build five F-15 fighters in the district of House Minority Leader and speaker-wannabe Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.).
  • Sustainable Green Manfacturing Initiative:  $5.5 million for this questionable project at Picatinny Arsenal, in the district of House Appropriator Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.).  Although the Army doesn’t want to fund it, Frelinghuysen has managed to walk off with $8.5 million for the initiative in last two fiscal years.

Transportation Appropriations bill (signed into law 10/9/99):

  • Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area:  This $3.4 million earmark is a gift from Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking member Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).  Delaware Water Gap has a long history of being a reservoir for pork – in 1997, the National Park Service spent $784,000 for an outhouse on the Pennsylvania side of the Gap.
  • National Welfare to Work Center:  A worthy goal, but not exactly a transportation issue.  This $1 million earmark is going to the University of Illinois – the alma mater of House Appropriator Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.).
  • Savannah, Ga. Water Taxi:  Although not included in the President’s budget request, the House added $500,000 for a water taxi in the district of House Appropriator Jack Kingston (R-Ga.).
  • TransCenter, White Plains, N.Y.:  A $1 million earmark for the TransCenter transportation center in the district of House Appropriator Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.).

VA-HUD Appropriations bill (signed into law 10/20/99):

  • Cayuga County Regional Application Center:  Thanks to the help of House VA-HUD Appropriations Chairman James Walsh (R-N.Y.), upstate New York will feast on $11.5 million in VA-HUD pork, including $10 million for the Cayuga County Regional Application Center.
  • Garden Machine Program:  For only $1 million you too can study how to grow vegetables in the vacuum of space.  The money for the program goes to Texas Tech, located in the district of House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest (R-Texas).
  • Livestock Pollution Abatement Study:  What that means in English – how to get rid of cow pies.  What that means to taxpayers – $700,000.
  • Windstorm Simulation Project:  A $2.5 million science project for the folks at Florida International University, Miami, in the district of VA-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee member Rep. Carrie Meek (D-Fla.).

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