Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseContact: Sean Rushton or Melissa Naudin
February 16, 2001(202) 467-5300


(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), America’s largest taxpayer watchdog group, today announced Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) as the recipient of its February “Porker of the Month” award.  Byrd earned the award for recently criticizing the Bush tax cut proposal in the name of “fiscal responsibility.”  (Text of the award follows.)

It takes a lot at this point for Senator Robert Byrd, the grandmaster of pork procurement in Congress, to surprise us.  But, never one to rest on past accomplishments, Byrd has managed to do just that.

Due to his seniority and an open slot after the 2000 elections, Byrd finagled his way into a seat on the Senate Budget Committee.  For a man less committed to the philosophy of pork barrel, such heightened responsibility over the nation’s checkbook might have discouraged spendthrift ways.  But Byrd is no ordinary spender; he is the Alpha Porker.  His early days on the committee offer a textbook example of why farmers keep the roosters out of the hen house. 

With a staggered economy, huge budget surpluses, and an overburdened citizenry, President Bush in February sent Congress his plan to cut taxes by a modest $1.6 trillion over 10 years.  Hearing of the plan, Senator Byrd quickly barked back at the White House, calling for “fiscal restraint.”

As a lifelong defender of big government, it was evident Byrd would oppose the tax cut.  But to do it in the name of fiscal restraint is disingenuous.  It is like Bill Clinton advocating celibacy.  Byrd’s past of packing pork into every bill that crossed his desk for decades makes him the poster child for why it is vital Congress get those extra revenues out of Washington, ASAP. 

Tax cuts hurt a career appropriator like Byrd because they inhibit his ability to spend with reckless abandon.  The less money in Washington, the less Byrd can divert to West Virginia.  In FY 2001, the Mountain State ranks in the top five in per capita pork, and its fearless leader in the Senate won’t stop until the state is up to number one.  Some of Byrd’s recent projects include a recreation area at Lake Sherwood; revitalization of the Strand Theater in Moundsville; building the Kanawha Boulevard Walkway in Charleston; installing fences at the Jackson County Airport; and subsidizing a documentary on the Appalachians.

So personally addicted to redistributing money to his state is Byrd that he was recently quoted in George magazine saying, “You might as well slap my wife as take the highway money from West Virginia.”

For his complete myopia to taxpayer concerns, his tin ear for his own hypocrisy, and his inside-the-beltway big spending arrogance, we give him the honor of being CAGW's February Porker of the Month.

CAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.


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