1992 Congressional Pig Book | Citizens Against Government Waste

1992 Congressional Pig Book

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The Congressional Pig Book is CAGW's annual compilation of the pork-barrel projects in the federal budget. To qualify as pork, a project must meet one of seven criteria that were developed in 1991 by CAGW and the Congressional Porkbusters Coalition.


What follows are the most egregious examples of wasteful spending in the 1992 Appropriations bills. After you read this book, you will agree that in spite of our nation’s economic problems, it’s business as usual in Washington: our hard-earned tax dollars are still going down the drain for wasteful pork-barrel projects.

As official Washington got down on its knees before the American people to sell the 1990 budget agreement, it declared that spending had been cut to the bone and a tax increase was essential to reducing the federal deficit. The 1992 Pig Book clearly demonstrates that this was a big lie! Instead of reducing our deficit, the 1990 tax increase is funding more than $8 billion worth of pork-barrel projects, and the deficit will skyrocket in 1993 to an unprecedented $400 billion.

Pork-barrel spending includes programs which serve no national interest, such as roads which go virtually nowhere, “scientific studies” which yield no practical data, or acquisition of property and construction of projects which benefit a limited number of people or special interests.

This year’s “Pork King” title goes to Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV). Byrd used his position as chairman of the Appropriations Committee to funnel $510.8 million in special projects and earmarks to his home state of West Virginia.

The government has no money except that which we taxpayers earn and give to it or which it borrows, on which we pay the interest. But Congress is continuing to squander our resources and bankrupt the nation, so we are left holding the bag. Read this summary of 1992 wasteful spending. Contact your Senators and Representative – either by phone or mail – and demand an explanation. It’s time we hold our elected representatives accountable for how THEY spend OUR money!

All items in the Congressional Pig Book meet at least one of CAGW’s seven criteria, but most satisfy at least two:

  • Requested by only one chamber of Congress;
  • Not specifically authorized;
  • Not competitively awarded;
  • Not requested by the President;
  • Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;
  • Not the subject of congressional hearings; or
  • Serves only a local or special interest.

I. Commerce, Justice, and State

$2 million added in conference by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) for a New York Bight Center for undersea research.

$1.7 million for Pacific Tuna Management in the Fisheries Management Programs and $250,000 for information collection and analysis on Hawaiian Sea Turtles; both requests made by Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI).

$1 million added in conference by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) for the construction of an Alaska Fisheries Center.

$300,000 added by conferees to promote innovative post-secondary education and research in the field of seafood business management, Center for Marine Development and Research, Kingsborough Community College, New York.

$150,000 for a recyclable fishing nets study.

II. Defense

The 1992 Defense Appropriations bill contains over $6 billion in unauthorized spending in violation of the law which states that “no funds may be appropriated for any fiscal year to, or for, the use of any armed force, or obligated or expended unless funds therefore have been specifically authorized by law.” The bill also includes $114 million earmarked for university grants which have been non-competitively awarded. Several examples:

$25 million for an “Arctic region supercomputer,” courtesy of ranking minority member of the Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), as part of a controversial and so far unsuccessful effort by the University of Alaska to trap energy from the aurora borealis.

$10 million earmarked for an unauthorized grant to Marywood College in Scranton, Pennsylvania to study military stress on families, thanks to Rep. Joseph McDade (R-PA). This small Roman Catholic school, run by nuns of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, has an enrollment of nearly 3,000. The $10 million study to Marywood has baffled even the grant recipients.

$600,000 added in conference to establish two Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment Center Demonstration Projects, one to be located in the State of Hawaii and one in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The treatment disorder centers are directed to study the effects of war on active duty, guard, and reserve personnel, and their families. According to report language, “one center shall be located in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, which has suffered more (wartime) casualties than any other community in the United States. The other center shall be located in the State of Hawaii.” The reason for the center in Hawaii is unclear – other than the presence of Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Committee. This funding comes in addition to $7.4 million included in the 1991 Veteran’s Compensation Rate amendments for specialized stress disorder centers and health care staff.

III. District of Columbia

$1.5 million directed under Capital Outlays to “secure, from current owners, access, rights of way, easements or title to lands not now in public ownership for a proposed bicycle and pedestrian pathway known as the Metropolitan Branch Trail."

IV. Energy and Water

$4,825,000 directed to the Corps of Engineers to monitor the operations of a fish lift at the Cooper River, Charleston Harbor rediversion project in South Carolina, home state of Senate appropriator Ernest Hollings (D-SC).

$1,072,000 included for the acquisition of facilities “and other purposes” in Saginaw, MI, district of Energy and Water appropriator Bob Traxler (D-MI). Last year, Traxler managed to get Saginaw $790,000 for “park improvements and shoreline protection.” Traxler also got $3,900,000 for “land acquisition, construction, public improvements, and other purposes” in Bay City, Michigan. Last year, Traxler directed $769,000 for bridge lighting and “other improvements” to Bay City’s Bigelow Park.

$50,000 added by Sen. Quentin Burdick (D-ND) for the Corps of Engineers to address mosquito larcividing at Lake Sakakawea, North Dakota.

V. Foreign Operations

$7 million earmarked in the House bill for African elephant conservation. At press time, the Senate had not yet taken up the foreign aid bill, which is running on a continuing resolution.

VI. Interior

$6 million directed out of the National Park Service budget to be used for construction of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Established in 1955, the FDR Commission was charged with building a memorial for our 32nd President. Despite the fact that FDR said he wanted a memorial no larger than his desk, the Commission has planned, and Congress has authorized, a $47 million, 9-acre garden plaza in downtown Washington. Controversy over design and architectural plans has kept construction in limbo until September 1991 when ground was finally broken. Federal funds have flowed steadily into the Commission fund since its inception. In years when funding was lower than anticipated, the Commission managed to raise private funds. Dedication is scheduled for 1995.

$5 million for 1992 activities related to the Salmon Summit which was convened in 1990 by Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-OR) to formulate a plan to keep the National Marine and Fisheries Service from listing the salmon on its endangered species list. The summit consisted of representatives from business, utility, and other industries; Indian tribes; environmentalists; and other groups. The four states at the summit were Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Montana. The summit failed to produce a long-term solution for salmon recovery which was amenable to all parties. Governors then turned to the Northwest Planning Council, which was able to develop and submit an acceptable plain in December 1991.

$2.7 million appropriated for the Abraham Lincoln Research and Interpretive Center in Springfield, Illinois, courtesy of Rep. Richard Durbin (D-IL). This project has not yet been authorized, could run as high as $60 million, and is duplicative of a visitor’s center which already exists at the Lincoln National Historic Site.

$100,000 appropriated for a black bear study in the Green Mountain National Forest located in Vermont, and $90,000 went to fund a wolverine study at the Sawtooth National Recreation Area in Idaho under the National Forest System.

VII. Labor and Health and Human Services

$80 million added in conference to the Labor/HHS bill for the Low Income Energy Assistance Programs. These funds were designated for “congressional emergencies.” Research done by CCAGW staff found that this money was not going to be used for “emergencies” at all, but was added to the bill and labeled “emergency” to avoid Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scoring rules. According to Labor/HHS staff, the committee exceeded its budget by $80 million. In order to avoid any spending cuts, the committee used the emergency designation of funds as a “gimmick to avoid CBO scoring rules.” Funds that are labeled “emergency” are taken off-budget and do not count toward funding totals for the committee.

VIII. Legislative Branch

$1,000,000 for a pilot test, evaluation, and survey of a Capitol complex energy-efficient lighting retrofit.

$846,000 to renovate Senate Committee hearing rooms.

$350,000 for House Committee room lighting.

$275,000 to improve lawn care, purchase trash cans, and provide benches on the U.S. Capitol Grounds.

$205,000 for shutters and lighting in Capitol buildings.

$200,000 for bicentennial of the Capitol activities.

$75,000 for Senate Committee calendars.

IX. Military Construction

The 1992 Military Construction Appropriations bill contains $33.9 million for construction/improvements to military physical fitness centers and $42.8 million for the construction of, or additions to child development centers. Here is where some of that money went:

$7 million to upgrade a physical fitness center at Fort Richardson, Alaska, requested by Senate appropriator Ted Stevens (R-AK).

$3.3 million for additions to a child development center at Travis Air Force Base, located in the district of appropriator Vic Fazio (D-CA).

$4.4 million to alter/add a physical fitness center at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota, home state of Senate appropriator Quentin Burdick (D-ND).

$3.9 million for a physical fitness center for the Aberdeen Proving Ground, located in the home state of Senate appropriator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD).

X. Transportation

The 1992 Transportation Appropriations bill contains 105 highway demonstration projects totaling $516,726,000. These projects are unauthorized, were non-competitively awarded, and have never been the subject of congressional hearings. Here is a sampling of 1992 highway projects:

$148.5 million, or 29 percent of total pork-barrel highway spending, included by Sen. Robert Byrd for a Corridor G highway improvement project to “demonstrate methods of eliminating traffic congestion and to promote economic benefits” for West Virginia. He also got $9.84 million for a highway demonstration construction project for an earlier Byrd trophy, a $185 million FBI complex in Harrison County, West Virginia. Sen. Byrd managed to put West Virginia at the top of the list of states getting federal earmarks.

$2.5 million included in the bill to construct bikepaths in the very affluent community of North Miami Beach, home of appropriator rep. William Lehman (D-FL).

$2 million under highway research, development and technology to conduct truck driver fatigue research.

$800,000 added by Sen. Quentin Burdick (D-ND) for highway beautification in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

XI. Treasury and Postal Service

$25 million included by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) for a federal building and U.S. Courthouse in Beckley, West Virginia. In 1990, the General Services Administration conducted a study which found that Charleston, West Virginia was in greater need of a courthouse than Beckley. Both cities had requested a courthouse, but budget constraints only allowed for one to be built. In 1990, $80 million was appropriated for a courthouse in Charleston. As a result of Beckley’s patience, Sen. Byrd has seen to it that both a federal building and a courthouse will be constructed in 1992, when both budget constraints and the deficit are greater – factors which did not impede Sen. Byrd’s largess.

$2.7 million included by Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) for the planning and design of a computer center for the Bureau of the Census in Bowie, Maryland.

XII. Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development

This year’s Veterans Affairs/Housing and Urban Development bill contains 4150 million in special HUD projects – more than double the amount spent in 1991. This year’s bill also contains an abundance of earmarked projects, that is, projects awarded on a noncompetitive basis:

$1.5 million for the Alliance of Residence Theaters of New York, New York for acquisition and renovations of theater space located in the district of Rep. Bill Green (RNY), ranking member of the VA/HUD Appropriations Subcommittee.

$1 million to rehabilitate the Pease Auditorium, a historic building in Ypsilanti, Michigan, home state of Subcommittee Chairman Bob Traxler (D-MI).

$700,000 to refurbish the Cresson Street Tressel bridge in Manayunk, Pennsylvania, located in the district of appropriator Lawrence Coughlin (R-PA).

XII. Agriculture

The following cooperative/special research grants have been awarded non-competitively:

$94,000 Asparagus yield decline

$210,000 Beef carcass evaluation and identification, IA, GA, NY, TX, IL

$340,000 Fish marketing, OR, RI

$296,000 Floriculture, HI

$1,942,000 Food Consortium, AR, KS, IA

$393,000 Food marketing policy center, CT

$50,000 Food processing center

$50,000 Forestry marketing, VT, NH

$75,000 Grasshopper biocontrol, ND

$100,000 Mesquite and prickly pear research, TX

$200,000 Oil from Jojoba, NM

$1,435,000 Potato research

$172,000 Poultry research, GA

$412,000 Regional barley gene-mapping project

$348,000 Regionalized implication of farm programs, MO

$99,000 Sandhills Grazing Management Practices, NE

$361,000 Seafood harvesting processing and marketing, MS

$140,000 Swine research, MN

$300,000 Wheat marketing, OR

$55,000 White mold research, MN

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