Press Release

For Immediate Release   Contact:  Jim Campi or Aaron Taylor
August 2, 1999(202) 467-5300


(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), America's largest taxpayer watchdog group, today released a list of pork-barrel projects slipped into the fiscal 2000 VA-HUD spending bill by House appropriators.  These 274 earmarks are expected to cost taxpayers $491.8 million.  The bill itself has yet to be reported out of the full House Appropriations Committee.

"If this bill is porked-up already, I can only imagine how bloated it will get as it moves through the full committee, the House floor, the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Senate floor, and the Conference Committee," remarked Schatz.  "What an awful beginning for a bill that traditionally wallows in bacon grease by the time it reaches the President’s desk.”

Among the unnecessary and ill-considered pork items in this year’s VA-HUD spending bill are $1 million for Sci-Quest, a high tech science museum located in Huntsville, Ala.; $25 million for the Ultra Efficient Engine Technology program; $1 million for a National Center for Atlantic and Caribbean Reef Research at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Miami, Fla.; and $700,000 for a livestock pollution abatement study.  “Clearly, these parochial projects do not serve the national interest,” remarked Schatz.

In a July 29 letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), CAGW's lobbying arm, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), urged the speaker to allow members of Congress to offer amendments cutting the pork from the Fiscal 2000 VA-HUD Appropriations Bill.

In the letter, Schatz commended Speaker Hastert for his efforts to pass the 13 appropriations bills on time.  However, he noted that the interests of taxpayers should not be sacrificed to do so.  “The House should not have to resort to bribes to get reticent members to do their jobs and pass spending bills on time and within the budget caps,” Schatz wrote.

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

Science and technology pork is always on the menu for appropriators flush with cash.  This is especially unfortunate since the private sector, which stands to benefit the most from government giveaways, is usually capable of footing the bill on its own.  This year's VA-HUD spending bill brings us some truly weird science.

  • JASON XI:  An overblown science fair project with the ambitious purpose of answering fundamental questions about the universe by exploring the ocean.  Cost to taxpayers: $2.3 million.
  • Sci-Quest:  A high tech science museum for kids with a $1 million price tag.  By what must be an amazing coincidence, the museum is located in Huntsville, Ala., the district of Rep. Bud Cramer (D-Ala.), a member of the House VA-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee.
  • Ultra Efficient Engine Technology Program:  A corporate welfare giveaway to aircraft manufacturers to help them develop better engines.  This is $25 million that could have been spent by the private sector for research and development.
  • National Center for Atlantic and Caribbean Reef Research:  $1 million so that someone's kid brother can have cool fish in his aquarium.  Located at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science in Miami, Fla.
  • Joint U.S./Italian Space-based Detection of Forest Fires:  Do we really need to spend $1 million on satellite technology to tell us that trees catch on fire?
  • Livestock Pollution Abatement Study:  What that means in English -- how to get rid of cow pies.  What that means to taxpayers -- $700,000.
  • 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).
  • Study of Tributyltin Based Ship Bottom Paints:  There is no more urgent question facing the citizens of this nation than whether you can paint the bottom of a boat with Tributyltin.  In fact, it's a $500,000 question.