The guilty pleas of lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham illustrate how pork-barrel projects, whether used as currency for re-election or as political favors to well-connected individuals or businesses, can corrupt the political process. The historic lack of restraint in the appropriations process has helped create a projected $371 billion budget deficit in fiscal 2006 and a national debt of $8.5 trillion. Whether the lobbying scandal and the outrage of taxpayers over “bridges to nowhere” will force Congress to cut the pork remains to be seen.
The 2006 Congressional Pig Book is the latest installment of Citizens Against Government Waste’s (CAGW) 16-year exposé of pork-barrel spending. This year’s list includes: $13,500,000 for the International Fund for Ireland, which helped finance the World Toilet Summit; $6,435,000 for wood utilization research; $1,000,000 for the Waterfree Urinal Conservation Initiative; and $500,000 for the Sparta Teapot Museum in Sparta, N.C.
This year, there was good news and bad news. For fiscal 2006, appropriators stuffed 9,963 projects into the 11 appropriations bills, a 29 percent decrease over last year’s total of 13,997. Despite the reduction in the number of earmarks, Congress porked out at record dollar levels with $29 billion in pork for 2006, or 6.2 percent more than last year’s total of $27.3 billion. In fact, the total cost of pork has increased by 29 percent since fiscal 2003. Total pork identified by CAGW since 1991 adds up to $241 billion.
Even though Alaska led the nation with $489 per capita ($325 million), it was less than half of Alaska’s 2005 per capita number of $985. The runners up in 2006 were Hawaii with $378 per capita ($482 million) and the District of Columbia with $182 per capita ($100 million). Alaska’s drop can be attributed to Sen. Ted Stevens’ (R-Alaska) descent from the throne as Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman.
In addition to the lobbying scandal, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have magnified the need for prioritizing federal spending. If the federal government is to pay for the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast, it should do so without going further in debt.
By passing pork-laden appropriations bills and by not vetoing a single spending bill, Congress and the President of the United States have respectively failed the American taxpayer. While the ramifications of these failures may not be completely visible today, they surely will be when future generations will be strangled with increasing debt.
The 375 projects, totaling $3.4 billion, in this year’s Congressional Pig Book Summary symbolize the most egregious and blatant examples of pork. As in previous years, all of the items in the Congressional Pig Book Summary 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.
The Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee was one of the few subcommittees that did not get reorganized. This meant that pork-hungry appropriators knew exactly where to add their pet projects. Usually when seeking information, CAGW gets the cold shoulder from appropriators. This year, the Agricultural Research Service was the spoiler, refusing to release public budget documents. Total agriculture pork in fiscal 2006 was $584 million, or 60 percent more than the fiscal 2005 total of $365 million. The number of projects decreased by 2 percent, from 512 to 502.
$33,907,000 added by the Senate for projects in the state of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), including: $10,000,000 for the Mississippi Conservation Initiative; $5,766,000 for the Wildlife Habitat Management Institute; $1,433,000 for curriculum development at Mississippi Valley State University; $1,389,000 for the Delta Conservation Demonstration Center in Washington County; $936,000 for advanced spatial technologies; $517,000 for aquaculture research; $300,000 for the National Center for Natural Products; $180,000 for natural products research; and $50,000 for cotton ginning research.
$33,360,000 for projects in the state of Senate appropriator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), including: $25,000,000 for rural and native villages; $1,300,000 for berry research; $1,099,000 for alternative salmon products; $500,000 for fruit and berry crop trials for rural villages; $443,000 for new crop opportunities; $331,000 for food preparation and marketing research; $300,000 for commercialization of native plant materials; $250,000 for ethnobotany research; $166,000 for salmon quality standards; and $75,000 for seafood waste research.
$17,361,000 for projects in the state of Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and in the district of House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member David Obey (D-Wis.), including: $8,000,000 for the Nutrient Management Laboratory; $817,000 for urban horticulture; $600,000 for the Babcock Institute; $260,000 for grazing research; $250,000 for cereal crops research; and $30,000 for Great Lakes aquaculture.
$14,085,000 for projects in the state of Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Robert Bennett (R-Utah), including: $5,000,000 for the Utah Conservation Initiative; $3,000,000 for the Washington Fields Project; $900,000 for botanical research; $545,000 for advanced computing research and education; and $300,000 for the Oquirrh Institute. According to the Institute’s website, “The Oquirrh Institute was founded in Salt Lake City, Utah, during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. The Institute's mission is to shine early light on public policy dilemmas and establish innovative solutions. The Oquirrh Institute is currently involved in four areas of concentration: Moving to Competency-Measured Education, Improving Environmental Management, Advancing Health Information and Research and Enhancing Governance Through Technology.” According to USDA testimony, “The principal researchers have not yet determined a completion date on this project.” A total of $500 has been raised from corporations and foundations. Taxpayers have “contributed” $550,000 to Oquirrh since 2004.
$13,274,000 added by the Senate for projects in the state of Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee member Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), including: $3,000,000 for the Animal Waste Management Research Laboratory; $843,000 for health education leadership; $760,000 for new crop opportunities; $645,000 for advanced genetic technologies research; $516,000 for Western Kentucky University ($396,000 to monitor the water quality and biological diversity of the Green River Watershed and $120,000 for waste management research); and $120,000 for improved forage and livestock production at Sen. McConnell’s alma mater, the University of Kentucky.
$10,995,000 added by the Senate for projects in the state of Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), including: $4,500,000 for the Geographic Information System Center of Excellence at West Virginia University; $2,045,000 for the Appalachian Fruit Laboratory in Kearneysville; $860,000 for the Appalachian Small Farmer Outreach Program; $750,000 for multiflora rose control; $690,000 for agriculture waste utilization research; $180,000 for turfgrass research; $160,000 for poultry litter composting; and $160,000 for feed efficiency research. According to USDA testimony, the feed efficiency project was supposed to be completed in 2005, and the research was being conducted at the West Virginia University Performance Bull Testing Facility in Wardensville. Now, that’s appropriate!
$6,435,000 for wood utilization research in Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Mich., Minn., Miss., N.C., Ore., Tenn., Wash., and W.Va. Since 1985, $86 million has been sapped from the taxpayers for this purpose.
$4,200,000 for shrimp aquaculture research in Ariz., Hawaii, La., Mass., Miss., S.C., and Texas. According to USDA testimony, “The goal of this program is to develop a sustainable domestic shrimp farming industry in the United States.” The timeline for this program appears to be indefinite. Since 1985, $65.7 million has been appropriated for this research.
$2,100,000 for the viticulture consortium in California, New York, and Pennsylvania. According to USDA testimony, “The original goal of this research was to maintain or enhance the competitiveness of the United States viticulture and wine industry in the global market.”
$500,000 for apple fire blight research in Michigan and New York. According to USDA testimony in March 2005, “The anticipated date of completion of the original objectives was 2000, however, the original objectives have not been accomplished. The principal investigators estimate that an additional five years will be needed to accomplish the original objectives. The estimated completion date is 2005.” Since 1997, $4.2 million has been appropriated for this research. This project has already taken two bites of the taxpayers’ apple, and that’s more than enough.
$365,000 added by the Senate for the Center for Rural Studies in the state of Senate appropriator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). According to USDA testimony, “The original goal was to create a database and analytical capability for rural development programming in Vermont.” However, USDA also testified that, “No formal evaluation of this project has been conducted.” Oops! Since 1992, $2 million has been appropriated for this research.
$359,000 for organic cropping research in Washington. There is no documentation of any non-federal or private funds. According to a 2004 survey by the Organic Trade Association, “U.S. organic food sales have grown between 17 and 21 percent each year since 1997, to nearly triple in sales, while total U.S. food sales over this time period have grown in the range of only 2 to 4 percent a year. According to the findings, organic food sales now represent approximately 2 percent of U.S. food sales.”
$352,000 for floriculture research in the state of Senate appropriator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii). The USDA has estimated that out-of-state sales of Hawaiian floriculture reached $97 million in 2003. According to USDA officials, “The principal researchers have not determined a completion date for the work on this project.” Since 1989, $5 million has been appropriated for this research.
$273,000 added by the House for urban market development in New York. According to USDA testimony, Cornell University proposes “to implement ‘Garden Mosaics,’ a community gardens program through which youth, educators, and adult gardeners conduct investigations of food-growing practices drawn from a diversity of cultures, and explore the science principles underlying these practices.” Since 2003, $620,000 has been appropriated for this project.
$244,000 added by the Senate for range improvement research in the state of Senate appropriator Pete Domenici (R-N.M.). According to USDA testimony, “The focus of the project is the livestock grazing industry in New Mexico…The principal researchers anticipate the work to be completed in 2005.” Apparently, this research will be continuing until the cows come home.
$234,000 for the National Wild Turkey Federation. According to the organization’s website, “In 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in Fredericksburg, Va. At that time, there were an estimated 1.3 million wild turkeys and 1.5 million turkey hunters. Shortly after its founding, the NWTF moved to Edgefield, S.C., where it is headquartered today. Thanks to the work of federal, state and provincial wildlife agencies and the NWTF's many volunteers and partners, there are now close to 7 million wild turkeys and nearly 3 million turkey hunters.” According to USDA testimony, “The project builds on the Federation’s longstanding public education program that reaches approximately 250,000 citizens annually. The project goal, to be accomplished by targeting nontraditional audiences, is to increase participation by these groups in outdoor activities, including, hunting, and thereby contributing to a more healthy lifestyle for the individuals…”
$211,000 for tropical aquaculture in Florida. According to USDA testimony, “The original goal of the research project was to improve culture and transportation techniques for the commercial tropical aquaculture industry in Florida. Accomplishments include: a previously undomesticated high-value ornamental fish has recently been bred in captivity…” Since 2000, $1.2 million has been appropriated for this research.
$179,000 added by the House for hydroponic tomato production research in the districts of House appropriator Ralph Regula (R-Ohio) and House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee member Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio). According to USDA testimony, “The anticipated completion date for this research was fiscal year 2002; the original objectives were met. The anticipated completion date for the new objectives for this project initiated in 2003 is fiscal 2005. No additional or related objectives have been identified.” Since 1998, $1.2 million has been appropriated for this research.
Efficient and effective operation of the Department of Defense (DOD) is critical to ensuring the security of our nation and the safety of our troops. While American military forces fight for peace and democracy in the Middle East, Pentagon officials at home struggle to create a lean, mean, war-fighting machine; but so far, appropriators are winning too many battles. From fiscal 2005 to fiscal 2006, the number of pork-barrel projects jumped 8 percent from 2,606 to 2,822, while the total cost went up 17 percent, from $12.7 billion to $14.9 billion.
$591,017,000 added in conference for eight additional C-130J aircraft. A February 2005 Associated Press article noted, “A 2004 report from the office of the inspector general of the Department of Defense rated the J model unsatisfactory and cited deficiencies in, among other things, its defensive systems.”
$360,295,000 for projects in the state of Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee ranking member Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), including: $22,000,000 for Maui Space Surveillance System operations and research; $21,650,000 for the Hawaii Federal Health Care Network; $17,000,000 for the digitization of DOD manuals; $6,000,000 for the Center of Excellence in Research and Ocean Sciences; $4,000,000 for the Center of Excellence for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance; $3,400,000 for the Hickam Air Force Base Alternative Fuel Vehicle Program; $2,500,000 for a small business pilot program to re-engineer the DOD vendor payment process; $2,000,000 for small business development and transition; $1,000,000 for methane desalination systems; $500,000 for porous silicon research; and $500,000 for the Hawaii Wireless Interoperability Network.
$92,425,000 for projects in the state of Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), including: $17,000,000 for utility repairs ($8,500,00 at Fort Wainwright and $8,500,00 at Eielson Air Force Base); $15,100,000 for Allen Army Airfield upgrades; $12,800,000 for Alaska land mobile radios; $8,500,000 for the Port of Anchorage Intermodal Marine Facility Project; $3,400,000 for the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), which was initially designed to capture energy from the aurora borealis [northern lights], but is now being configured to heat up the ionosphere to improve military communications (CAGW has identified $105.9 million appropriated for HAARP since 1995); $2,000,000 for a track relocation study at Fort Wainwright; and $500,000 for the Arctic Winter Games. According to the winter games website, “The Arctic Winter Games is a high profile circumpolar sport competition for northern and arctic athletes. The Games provide an opportunity to strengthen sport development in the participants’ jurisdictions, to promote the benefits of sport, to build partnerships, and to promote culture and values. The Games celebrate sport, social exchange and cultures. The Games provide an opportunity for the developing athlete to compete in friendly competition while sharing cultural values from northern regions around the world.”
$50,720,000 added for projects in the state of Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee member Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House appropriators Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) and Anne Northup (R-Ky.), including: $8,400,000 for the Phalanx SeaRam; $2,800,000 for biometrics signature research; $2,520,000 for the Kentucky National Guard Counterdrug and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area; and $1,000,000 for crossroad cluster communities at Fort Knox.
$32,800,000 added for projects in the state of House appropriators Joseph Knollenberg (R-Mich.) and Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.), including: $7,000,000 for the Future Tactical Truck System; $7,000,000 for the Modular Causeway System; and $1,000,000 for the Gaming-Technology Software Initiative.
$28,950,000 added by the Senate for projects in the state of Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee member Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.): $26,350,000 for a facility restoration plan at the Allegheny Ballistics Lab and $2,600,000 for the West Virginia National Guard for drug interdiction and counter-drug activities. The Allegheny Ballistics Center is located at the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Flexible Manufacturing.
$8,270,000 for breath alcohol testing equipment, including $7,270,000 for Breathscan® alcohol detectors and $1,000,000 for autonomous non-invasive alcohol testing.
$5,600,000 added by the House for the Gallo Center. According to its website, “The Ernest Gallo Clinic & Research Center (EGCRC) at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) was established in 1980 to study basic neuroscience and the effects of alcohol and drug abuse on the brain.” There is no mention of any defense-related research. Apparently, they will serve no pork before its time.
$4,000,000 for the Bayonne Military Ocean Terminal (BMOT). Last year, CAGW noted that BMOT was the new home of Royal Caribbean cruise ships and was used as a location for the film “A Beautiful Mind” and HBO’s television series “Oz.” In 2005, the Bayonne Local Redevelopment Agency, the governing entity of BMOT, bragged that it was “the proud recipient of the New Jersey Planning Officials (NJPO) 2005 ‘Achievement in Planning Award’ and New Jersey Future 2005 ‘Smart Growth Award.’”
$4,000,000 added by the House for the Toledo Shipyard Improvement Plan in the district of House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee member Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio). According to The Toledo Blade, the shipyard was scheduled to close on October 31, 2005. The paper noted, “Despite millions of dollars in pledged public aid for modernizations and upgrades, the Toledo Shipyard's operator has indicated that it will pull anchor by the end of October, costing the area about 70 jobs.” Business at the shipyard has been waning over the last 20 years.
$2,500,000 for out-of-this-world appropriations in California; $1,500,000 for the Allen Telescope array and $1,000,000 for the Griffith Observatory Planetarium. While the Allen Telescope Array will look for extraterrestrial life, the newly renovated Griffith observatory will showcase American accomplishments in space. There are no exhibits yet planned on how DOD will defend the world against aliens.
$1,000,000 for the Waterfree Urinal Conservation Initiative added by Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.). According to a October 20, 2005 CongressDaily article, Rep. Ehlers wrote a letter to House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman C.W. (Bill) Young (R-Fla.) requesting this earmark.
$1,000,000 added by the House for the already-closed Philadelphia Navy Yard. At the September 2004 announcement of a $2 billion plan for the Navy Yard, Philadelphia Mayor John Street said, “The Plan builds on the Navy Yard’s history as an industrial site and defines an exciting mix of office, research, commercial, and residential development including a new marina district and extension of the Broad Street Subway to access the Yard as part of a new Philadelphia waterfront neighborhood that will result in as many as 30,000 jobs at the 1,200-acre site. The Navy Master Plan is a centerpiece of the Mayor’s New River City proposal, which calls for coordinated development of the City’s entire 38 miles of waterfront.”
$1,000,000 added by the Senate for a competency-based distance education initiative with Western Governors University in the state of Senate appropriator Robert Bennett (R-Utah). This school is a private university that only gained accreditation in 2003. A close examination of their website does not reveal any defense-related missions.
$500,000 added in conference for the Translational Genomics Research Institute in the district of House appropriator Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.). According to the Institute’s website, “The vision of the Translational Genomics Research Institute is a world where genomic discoveries can be rapidly translated to the diagnosis and treatment of disease in a manner tailored to the individual.” There is no mention as to why they receive money from the Department of Defense.
III. ENERGY AND WATER
Hurricane Katrina exposed the truth about congressional appropriators. Instead of fully funding high-priority levees and flood control projects, appropriators have chosen to fund their own pet projects across the country, and even within the Gulf States. The 942 projects included in this bill will receive $1.6 billion in 2006, a 16 percent decrease from the $1.9 billion in fiscal 2005.
$100,327,000, a 56 percent increase from fiscal year 2005, for projects in the state of Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee member Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and the district of House appropriator Rodney Alexander (R-La.) including: $13,500,000 for the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway; $11,250,000 for the Inner Harbor Canal Lock, which has been deemed ineffective because of changing water traffic patterns; $2,250,000 for Mississippi River Outlets in Venice; $1,170,000 for Barartaria Bay; $500,000 for the Louisiana State University Sugar-Based Ethanol Project; $442,000 for Lake Providence Harbor; $400,000 for Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise Program at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette; $375,000 for Ascension Parish environmental infrastructure; $172,000 for Mississippi River Ship Channel; and $77,000 for Madison Parish Port. One would assume that the increase in Louisiana earmarks could be attributed to Hurricane Katrina. Unfortunately, this was not the case as the majority of projects added by the appropriations committee do not concern flood control or the reparation of destroyed levees. For example, 13.4 percent of total Louisiana pork, or $13,500,000, was allocated to one project, the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway, even though it is only used by 4 percent of Louisiana’s commercial traffic. And, according to the Army Corps of Engineers, the waterway’s costs will not be justified until 2046.
$83,500,000 for projects at the Yazoo Basin in the state of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), including: $25,000,000 for miscellaneous water sources in the Yazoo Basin; $22,000,000 for the Delta Headwaters Project; and $20,000,000 for the backwater pumping plants. Yazoo Basin projects are receiving 63.3 percent more than the state of Mississippi received from the entire Energy and Water bill in fiscal year 2005 and have exceeded the President’s fiscal 2006 budget request of $28,920,00 by 188 percent.
$79,745,000 for projects in the state of Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Harry Reid (D-Nev.), including: $14,300,000 for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas ($5,000,000 to study the deep burn-up of nuclear fuel and other fuel cycle research, $3,400,000 for the study of hydrogen fuel cell and storage, $3,400,000 to research the solar-powered thermo-chemical production of hydrogen, and $2,500,000 for photonics research and the evaluation of advanced fiber optics for hybrid solar lighting); $3,400,000 for the National Center on Energy Management and Building Technology; $3,500,000 for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s virtual- site office; $2,500,000 for Altair Nanotech; $1,000,000 for materials reliability at the University of Nevada- Reno Center; and $250,000 for the Mojave Bird Study. Due to previous concerns regarding the safety of birds in the area, an environmental impact report, released in July of 2004, revealed that the death toll on red-tailed hawks and other bird species in the area would be minimal following the construction of a wind farm. According to an article published by Judith Lewis in LA Weekly, the local Audubon groups that led the attack on the Pine Tree Wind Farm offered to pay for a meticulous study that would focus specifically on the songbirds. However, the government insisted on conducting their own study using taxpayer dollars to fund the project.
$56,078,000 added by the Senate in the state of Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), including: $11,650,000 for construction of the Santa Ana River Mainstem; $10,000,000 for the San Gabriel Basin Restoration Project; $7,000,000 for the UCLA Institute for Molecular Medicine; $3,000,000 for the American River Watershed; $3,000,000 for the San Ramon Valley Recycled Water Project; $2,900,000 for regional wetlands in Lake Tahoe; $1,440,000 for the San Francisco Bay Long-Term Management Study; $1,250,000 for the Long Beach Desalination Project; $1,000,000 for the Sacramento River Division Study; $1,000,000 for a water reclamation project in Orange County; $500,000 for the Arnold Palmer Prostate Center; $400,000 for the California Hydrogen Infrastructure Project; and $300,000 for Surfside-Sunset and Newport beaches. Senator Feinstein told reporters, “The problem with earmarks is they’re put in in the dark of night and they are unknown. I recognize that earmarks have been abused.” Fifty-six million dollars later, the other side of her mouth is probably singing a different tune.
$53,730,000 for projects in the state of Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), including: $11,000,000 for the Mind Institute; $9,076,000 for the Middle Rio Grande Project; $5,000,000 for New Mexico environmental infrastructure; $4,000,000 for the Rio Grande Bosque rehabilitation; $3,500,000 for the nuclear energy materials test station at Los Alamos Neutron Science Center; and $1,000,000 for the Navajo electrification process.
$17,500,000 for projects in the district of House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman David Hobson (R-Ohio), including: $13,000,000 for Ohio environmental infrastructure; $3,000,000 for the NextEdge Technical Park in Springfield; $1,500,000 for the Springfield Equestrian Center Energy Efficiency Project; and $1,000,000 for the Ohio State University 4-H Green Building Project. Representative Hobson told CQ Today that lawmakers’ resistance to the energy budget cuts proposed by the Bush administration “may be a little bit of a problem. I totally agree with all the goals. I just have to make sure we spend the money in the right places and that we don’t damage good programs that are already out there.”
IV. FOREIGN OPERATIONS
The U.S. government continues to dig deep into the taxpayers’ pockets to help those affected by natural disasters and disease and to assist economically unstable countries. Yet Congress insists on wasting money that could be used to fund more worthwhile projects around the world. However, there is a silver lining. Foreign Operations Appropriations pork spending decreased 77 percent, from $473.9 million in fiscal year 2005 to $107.7 million in fiscal year 2006.
$13,500,000 added by the House for the International Fund for Ireland (IFI), which has released a five-year strategy focusing on grassroots reconciliation and cross-community projects such as: the construction of Creggan Community Café and Catering Ltd., the Newcastle YMCA, the Donegal Town Waterbus, the Leitrim Food Center of Excellence, the Chef Development Program, and funding toward the World Toilet Summit. Could there be a better example of the government flushing away your money?
$3,000,000 for the Foundation for Environmental Security and Sustainability (FESS), which addresses environmental concerns around the world. Though the program received funding from the USAID budget for the last five years, it has shown little progress. The two most recent projects, performed in February and May of 2005, were pilot country studies in Uganda and the Dominican Republic. It appears that unused funding is reallocated to FESS affiliate programs at the University of Mississippi and Tulane Law School.
$2,300,000 for the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) in the state of Senate Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and the district of House appropriator Robert Cramer (D-Ala.). This is the ninth year that Congress has funded this program, and this year spending jumped 26 percent from $1,702,000 in fiscal year 2005. The IFDC seeks to augment agricultural activity using environmentally friendly means. An October 2005 press release from the IFDC was titled: “There is Money in the Soil and Djaka Kope Farmers Want It.” Perhaps in the future, Congress and the IFDC should look in the soil for funding rather than in taxpayers’ pockets.
V. HOMELAND SECURITY
Spending on projects was on the rise in the fiscal 2006 Homeland Security Appropriations Act. As the need remains for a secure America, appropriators continued to fund projects that were not requested by the administration. While the number of projects in the bill decreased by 45 percent from 64 in fiscal 2005 to 35 in fiscal 2006, spending increased 57 percent, from $1.7 billion to $2.7 billion.
$175,000,000 added by the House for the port security grants. The program, established in 2002, allows port authorities and private companies to apply for federal funding to improve physical security at U.S. ports. After going through the application process, recipients are expected to use the grants for dockside and perimeter security. However, an audit performed by the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revealed that a number of the grants, “appeared to be for a purpose other than security against an act of terrorism.” According to the report, though 80 percent of international commerce goes through only 10 ports, the grant program for fiscal 2005 provided substantial funding to 79 ports. The audit report pins the majority of the blame on the department and reveals that many of the grants are pushed through even when the applications fail to demonstrate need.
$78,631,000 added for general provisions for the 100 foot Island Class Patrol Boat. These boats are currently being used by the U.S. Coast Guard to enforce immigration and drug laws. According to the 2006 Homeland Security Appropriations Act House report and an article published by Sea Power, the effectiveness of these boats has been in decline since 2001. As maintenance costs for emergency repairs continue to rise, so do the contributions from taxpayers.
$40,000,000 added by the Senate for the Real ID Grant Program. Passed in May 2005, the Real ID Act for the first time set federal standards for authenticating and securing state-issued driver’s licenses. DHS has two options: allow states to use inexpensive, protected technology, or force them to embed costly, personally intrusive brittle computer chips. Whichever alternative is used, the new system will place a heavy burden on state and local governments, especially departments of motor vehicles, as well as on taxpayers and drivers.
$10,000,000 added by the House for the Intercity Bus Security Grant Program, which is meant to improve driver protection, passenger screening, tracking and communication between buses, and overall security assessment. While the individual grants continue to fund profitable companies, such as Coach and Greyhound, the most ridiculous grant in fiscal 2005 was $46,908 for Hampton Jitney, Inc. The Jitney is known primarily for shuttling wealthy New Yorkers to their summer homes in the Hamptons. The company has recently added a limousine service that promises “a custom tailored limousine ride for an unforgettable day.”
$10,000,000 added by the House for the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium. This program was created by Congress to guarantee that citizens living in rural areas were equally protected. There is a marked lack of urgency, however, as there continues to be no report detailing current or future plans for the project.
The fiscal 2006 Interior Appropriations Act is similar to its predecessors, with the addition of funding for the Environmental Protection Agency. One of most recognizable agencies in this bill is the National Park Service (NPS), a.k.a. “the National Pork Service.” In March 2005, the Congressional Research Service cited $9.7 billion worth of maintenance backlogged at national parks. That didn’t stop appropriators from adding $136 million in pork for the NPS. Total pork for the Interior bill was $669.5 million dispersed among 737 projects.
$47,326,000 for projects in the state of Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee member Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), including: $12,733,000 for Western Arctic Parklands; $7,000,000 for Alaska conveyance; $4,000,000 for a visitors center at the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge; $1,100,000 for the Matunuska-Susitna Borough; $750,000 for the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park; $450,000 for the Bering Sea Fisherman’s Association; $400,000 for the Ketchikan Wood Technology Center; $150,000 for the Alaska Whaling Commission; and $98,000 for the Alaska Sea Otter Commission.
$31,720,000 for projects in the state of Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), including: $6,000,000 for the Blackfoot River Community Project in the Helena and Lolo National Forests; $3,000,000 for land acquisition in Swan Valley, Flathead National Forest; $1,500,000 for the Salish and Kootenai College Information Technology Program; $1,000,000 for an air quality improvement program in Lincoln County; $400,000 for the Carnegie Library building in Missoula (As part of their private fundraising, “All donors making gifts of $5,000 and above will be included in a donor recognition wall, most likely located in the Grand Foyer.”); and $150,000 for the Anaconda-Deer Lodge Courthouse.
$17,577,000 for projects in the state of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and the district of House appropriator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), including: $2,000,000 for wastewater system rehabilitation for the West Rankin Water Authority; $1,000,000 for the Delta Interpretive Center; $1,000,000 for Smith County Lake; $900,000 for the Center for Marine Resources; $500,000 for a regional wastewater program in DeSoto County; $225,000 for the Hinds County Courthouse; and $100,000 for the Ocean Springs Community Center.
$13,950,000 for projects in the state of Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee member Robert Bennett (R-Utah), including: $4,000,000 for the Utah Public Lands Artifact Preservation Act; $1,500,000 for the Bonneville Shoreline Trail; $750,000 for the Range Creek/Rainbow Glass Ranch; $500,000 for a wastewater treatment plant in Eagle Mountain; and $300,000 for wastewater infrastructure improvements for Judge Tunnel in Park City.
$10,900,000 for projects in the state of Senate appropriator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), including: $3,700,000 for land acquisition at Haleakala National Park; $3,400,000 for the Wao Kele o Puna rain forest (In a letter to legislators, the president of Malama O Puna, a Hawaii nonprofit environmental group, urged that federal money be spent on the project: “On behalf of all our members, the birds who cannot speak for themselves, and generations yet to come, I thank you for your staunch support.”); $600,000 for the Native Hawaiian Culture and Arts Program; and $450,000 for water monitoring.
$6,950,000 for projects in the state of Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee member Larry Craig (R-Idaho), including: $1,500,000 for land acquisition at Upper Snake/South Fork Snake River; $1,000,000 for land acquisition at Thunder Mountain in the Payette National Forest; and $300,000 for the University of Idaho Mica Creek study. According to the University of Idaho, “The Mica Creek Experimental Watershed is a paired and nested catchment study basin, privately operated by Potlatch Corporation.” According to its website, Potlatch is “a diversified forest products company with 1.5 million acres of timberland and 4,000 employees in the United States,” with $1.35 billion in net sales in 2004.
$4,500,000 for the Katahdin Iron Works in Maine. This company operated in Maine between 1843 and 1890. According to Mainerec.com, “Although isolated, it was tied closely to outside markets and technological advances in the iron industry. Its beginnings, for example, paralleled a growing demand for iron farm tools, machinery and railroad car wheels. In the end, the iron works failed when huge mills in Pennsylvania brought the nation's new age of steel.” According to The Wilderness Society, “The project also features new recreational amenities such as trails, water access points and backcountry facilities that will help bring new visitors to the region.”
$350,000 added by the Senate for the Chicago Greenstreets Program in the state of Senate appropriator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.). According to a participant in the program, Moore Landscapes, Inc., “The City of Chicago's Greenstreets Program included the design, installation, and maintenance of over 950 hanging baskets this summer. This newly added feature, overflowing with splashes of vivid color and delicate foliage provide a welcoming touch to the streets of Chicago.”
The National Park Service (NPS) administers the Save America’s Treasures program for “preservation and/or conservation work on nationally significant intellectual and cultural artifacts and historic structures and sites.” NPS explicitly says that “Grants are awarded to Federal, state, local, and tribal government entities, and non-profit organizations through a competitive matching-grant program,…” NPS requested $15,000,000 for the competitive program, and Congress increased that by 112 percent, or $16,750,000, all of which was earmarked and added in conference.
$400,000 for the Kam Wah Chung & Company Museum in John Day, Oregon. The museum is dedicated to the work of two Chinese immigrants, Lung On and Ing “Doc” Hay. Admission to the museum is $3 for adults, $2.50 for seniors, and $1.50 for students. An estimated 3,000 people visit the museum each year. According to the museum’s website, “Other fund-raising goals the Friends Group has identified include: Acquiring a support building near the Museum to serve as a visitor, education and interpretive center, and to house the Curator's office. To do this, we anticipate the need to raise approximately $40,000 in the next two years.” By this estimate, the federal contribution could support the construction of 10 buildings.
$250,000 for the Stanley Theater in Utica, New York. According to the theater’s website, “Every ticket sold to a Stanley event includes $2 to help pay for the continued restoration of this magnificent showplace. Major funding has also come from the Natural Heritage Trust of the State of New York, the County of Oneida, the City of Utica and many private sources.” Don’t forget Uncle Sam.
$150,000 for the Bulgarian-Macedonian National Education and Cultural Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. According to its website, “The Bulgarian-Macedonian National Educational And Cultural Center is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1995. Its mission is to preserve, perpetuate and present the rich cultural heritage of the Bulgarian and Macedonian people. The BMNECC is projected as a ‘must see’ tourist attraction in the Pittsburgh area in which will be contained both permanent and revolving cultural exhibits and a Performing Arts Center as well as an efficient and attractive Museum, Library and Archives.” We’ll wait for the movie.
$150,000 for the Actors Theater in Louisville, Kentucky, in the district of House appropriator Anne Northup (R-Ky.). Founded in 1964 and designated as the Kentucky State Theater in 1974, the theater’s mission is to provide “insight into the human experience through live theatre that invigorates minds and emotions... We will build a better community by bringing people together to participate in the power of collective imagination.” One of the theater’s productions is called Bad Date, in which “a feisty single mom relocates to the big city, finds a new career and jumps back into the shark-infested dating pool only to find herself on the wrong side of the law…the hilarious and unforgettable story of one woman's love life, her anticipation of (and recovery from) each new date and the fabulous shoe collection that saves her every time!”
VII. LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION (LABOR/HHS)
The 2006 Labor/HHS Appropriations Act is a tale of two bills. On one hand, Senate Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), drew a line in the sand, refusing to add earmarks. Although House appropriators squealed, the result was a 98 percent drop in earmarks, from 3,071 to 51. On the other hand, total pork increased 3 percent, from $1.7 billion in 2005 to $1.75 billion in 2006. Despite the fact that President Bush cut 48 projects from the Department of Education (DoE), appropriators chose to ignore the majority of those cuts, returning funding to 25 of the programs. The DoE received the majority of earmarks in this bill.
$100,000,000 added by the House for the Even Start program. This program was created in 1988 as an attempt to terminate the link between poverty and illiteracy by creating a family literacy course. The DoE has argued that the program’s combination of early childhood education, adult literacy, and parenting education creates a family dynamic that aids in the learning process. However, DoE’s own studies proved that claim groundless, revealing that no educational discrepancy exists between families that enrolled in the Even Start program and families that did not. Not only is Even Start lacking in educational gains, but it has also failed to track accurately the progress of families that are receiving grants. It does, however, track the number of hours of instruction provided to the grantees. But who has the time to track actual learning when you are busy vying for tens of millions of dollars in federal funding?
$65,643,000 added for the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) program. The purpose of this program is to award grants to states, which in turn award grants to financially unstable students attending postsecondary institutions. The states are required to match federal spending dollar for dollar. While this program may have been necessary at one time, that time seems to have passed. At the program’s inception in 1972, only 28 states were providing need-based financial grants. However, only two states now fail to provide this need-based program. In most cases, state spending is significantly higher than federal spending. Despite these changes, the statute underlying the program stipulates that states cannot receive less than they received in 1979. This program is a leap, indeed: a leap back 27 years.
$41,000,000 added by the Senate for Byrd Honors Scholarships. The scholarships, named after Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), are meant to encourage secondary school students to excel in their lessons and go on to a postsecondary institution. However, according to Expect More, a program that evaluates the efficiency of government programs, students are given no real incentives, as there are no requirements that must be met or set goals to be achieved. Absent any defined standards, there is no way of knowing whether students who received this aid ever really “qualified” for the “coveted” scholarships. Furthermore, the law of this program does not allow the states to use any funding to determine whether or not the program is succeeding. This program gets an “F,” for failure to set standards and follow up on effectiveness.
$21,750,000 added for the National Writing Project, a program established by Congress and developed by the DoE, which aims to enhance the writing skills of grade school teachers. Approximately 180 sites are scattered across the country in the hopes that teachers will seek training in the art of writing. While the program seeks to increase the effectiveness of teachers, there is no system in place for determining whether or not the teachers’ writing skills have improved. Although studies have been conducted to determine whether or not this program is worthwhile, neither study has compared its results with teachers that did not receive aid from the National Writing Project. Moreover, the National Writing Project can be considered a duplicative project. DoE already spends $3 billion annually on programs meant to “professionally” train teachers to hone their writing skills. Hopefully these teachers learned how to write in college.
$2,000,000 added by the Senate for the Underground Railroad Program. This grant program, receiving consistent funding from Congress for the last seven years, was created to research, collect, interpret, and display artifacts from the Underground Railroad. After reviewing the projected goals, it becomes apparent why it was deemed a low- priority project and cut from the President’s budget. The target goal, set by the Department of Education for fiscal 2005, was to establish a baseline to measure performance. After noting a lack of collected data, the target goal for 2006 is to establish a baseline to measure performance. It is time for this train to stop running.
$980,000 added by the House for B. J. Stupak Olympic Scholarships. This program was created in 1992 to provide financial assistance to Olympic athletes who wish to pursue a postsecondary education. The massive amount of financial assistance available to students at public and private institutions across the country makes this project unnecessary. Furthermore, the only stipulated requirement is that the grantee must be training at one of the United States Olympic Training Centers. There is no incentive for the grantee to improve performance or demonstrate ability in any area other than their specified sport. This is just a hunch, but the appropriations committees will probably not medal in this project.
VIII. LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
Senate and House appropriators took the opportunity to feed a few of their favorite projects in the fiscal 2006 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act. The number of projects decreased by 17 percent, from 17 to 14. The amount of pork dropped 7.2 percent, from $21.3 million in fiscal 2005 to $19.8 million in fiscal 2006.
$5,000,000 added by the Senate to complete the increasingly bloated Capitol Visitor Center (CVC). Since construction began in fall 2001, Congress has continued to pour funding into this monument to excess and waste. The cost has risen from $265 million to at least $584 million and is running two years behind schedule.
$830,000 for projects added in the state of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.): $430,000 for the John C. Stennis Center for Public Service Training and Development, a federal legislative agency created in 1988 to promote and enhance public service careers in America, and $400,000 for the creation of the American Music Archives at the University of Mississippi.
$600,000 for the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, which seeks to inspire Lincoln observances until his bicentennial birthday in 2009. Because Senate appropriator Richard Durbin
(D-Ill.) and House appropriator Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) are co-chairmen of the commission, it is likely taxpayers will be funding this project for at least three more years.
$450,000 added by the House for plantings on the eastern front of the Capitol. This will allow members of Congress a chance to “stop and smell the roses” before they proceed with plunging the country deeper into debt.
IX. MILITARY CONSTRUCTION
The fiscal 2006 Military Construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriators Act was fair to veterans as it funded their programs without any pork. However, appropriators did dip into the trough for military construction projects. In fiscal 2006, there were 144 projects worth $1 billion compared to fiscal 2005, in which there were 143 projects worth $974 million.
$42,095,000 for projects in the state of Senate appropriator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and in the districts of House Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee members Robert Aderholdt (R-Ala.) and Bud Cramer (D-Ala.), including: $20,000,000 for a systems software engineering annex at Redstone Arsenal; $9,700,000 for a C41 facility at Fort Rucker; $5,100,000 for a school age services facility at Redstone Arsenal; $4,145,000 for an addition/alteration of a readiness center at Fort Payne; and $3,150,000 for an upgrade for 33 Theater High Altitude Air Defense storage at the Anniston Army Depot.
$24,700,000 for projects in the state of Senate Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii): $17,000,000 for Saddle Road at the Pohakuloa Training Area and $7,700,000 to upgrade an electrical distribution system at Hickam Air Force Base (Phase III).
$24,000,000 for projects at Twentynine Palms in the district of House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.): $21,000,000 for military operations on urban terrain (Phase I); and $3,000,000 to improve the wastewater treatment facility.
$23,500,000 for projects in the state of Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) and the district of House appropriator Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), including: $19,000,000 for Shepherd Field ($17,000,000 to upgrade and extend the runway for the Air National Guard and $2,000,000 for C-5 shop upgrades) and $4,500,000 for an Army National Guard Readiness Center at Camp Dawson.
$21,700,000 added by the Senate for projects in the state of Senate appropriator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska): $5,900,000 for a mobility warehouse at Eielson Air Force Base; $5,600,000 for an information systems facility at Fort Wainwright; $5,500,000 for a rotary wing landing pad at Fort Wainwright; and $4,700,000 for a railhead port facility at Fort Richardson.
$18,050,000 for projects at Fort Hood in the district of House Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee member John Carter (R-Texas): $6,800,000 for a physical fitness center; $6,600,000 for a central shipping/receiving point; and $4,650,000 for a fire station. There are six fitness facilities at Fort Hood, including the newly renovated Abrams Physical Fitness Center. According to a local website, “Newly renovated, Abrams is one of the Army's top fitness centers. Equipped with a state-of-the-art life fitness Interactive Training System, computerized cardiovascular equipment with TV access, free weights, two coed saunas, three regular racquetball courts and a Challenge court, an eight-lane 25 meter swimming pool…”
$10,000,000 added by the House for Phase II of the First Air Force Operations Center at Tyndall Air Force Base in the district of House Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee member Allen Boyd (D-Fla.).
$9,600,000 added in conference for a replacement composite ASOC/ASOS training facility for the Air National Guard at the Peoria Regional Airport in the district of House appropriator Ray LaHood (R-Ill.).
$5,070,000 added by the House for a Provost Marshall screening facility at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in the district of newly incarcerated former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.). Ironically, the Provost Marshall is the supervisor of the military police.
X. SCIENCE, STATE, JUSTICE, AND COMMERCE (SSJC)
What was known as the Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations Act is now the Science, Departments of State, Justice, and Commerce, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (SSJC). Besides the usual law enforcement and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) pork embedded in this bill is a newcomer, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In 2006, $1.9 billion of pork was dispersed among 1,987 projects.
$100,891,000 for 124 projects in the state of Senate SSJC Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), and the districts of House SSJC Appropriations Subcommittee member Robert Cramer (D-Ala.) and House appropriator Robert Aderholdt (R-Ala.), including: $5,000,000 for the Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking Center of Excellence; $3,500,000 for Auburn University to develop high-efficiency free piston sterling converters; $2,500,000 for Mobile Bay oyster recovery; $2,500,000 for Saturn V Rocket restoration at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center; $1,500,000 for Alabama state docks economic development; $1,500,000 for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office for an integrated law enforcement records management system; $1,250,000 for the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center’s Share Tech program; $1,000,000 for Team Focus, Inc. for a mentoring and education program; $1,000,000 for the Bring Back Broad Street initiative in Mobile; $850,000 for the Alabama Department of Archives and History; $500,000 for the West Alabama shrimp aquaculture program; $250,000 for the Family Success Center in Decatur; and $250,000 for Girls Inc. of Alabama. The organization is “a national nonprofit youth organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.” With a fund balance of more than $14 million in 2004, Girls Inc. is strong enough not to need a federal handout, but smart and bold enough to ask for and accept one.
$57,625,000 for projects in the state of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and the district of House appropriator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), including: $5,000,000 for the Industrial Outreach Service at Mississippi State University (whose mission is “to help Mississippi industry become more effective and competitive in the global economy. IOS serves as a coordinated, dedicated, and responsive conduit for applying resources and expertise available within the university to the problems and issues faced by Mississippi business and industry.”); $5,000,000 for the Mississippi Center for Marine Education and Research; $1,000,000 for the University of Mississippi to expand the mission of the National Center for Air and Space Law; $1,000,000 for the Alcorn State University Judicial Threat Analysis Center; $500,000 for Mitchell Memorial Library for the digitization of special collections; $315,000 for the City of Jackson YMCA; and $200,000 for NOAA radio transmitters.
$42,650,000 for projects in the state of Senate SSJC Appropriations Subcommittee member Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), including: $6,000,000 for the Barrow Arctic Research Center; $3,200,000 for the Alaska Fisheries Network; $2,000,000 for a community development program through NOAA; $200,000 for the Alaska Small Business Development Center; and $150,000 for the Wasilla Police Department for technology upgrades. Wasilla had an estimated population of 7,700 in 2004. In comparison, Baltimore City, Maryland received a $100,000 earmark for the same purpose and it has a population of more than 600,000. In 2006, Alaska received $25 million in pork through NOAA. According to syndicated columnist Robert Novak, Sen. Stevens complained to NOAA Administrator Conrad C. Lautenbacher that Alaska was being discriminated against in reference to the NOAA budget. “It looked like someone had sort of a heavy pencil in Alaska,” Stevens said. Apparently, not heavy enough.
$30,215,000 for projects in the state of Senate SSJC Appropriations Subcommittee member Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), including: $6,000,000 for the Great Bay Partnership; $5,000,000 for AIRMAP; $3,000,000 for the continuation of the J-ONE Information Sharing System; $3,000,000 for the Large Pelagics Research Program; $1,500,000 for the Alan Shepard Discovery Center at the McAuliffe Planetarium; $1,100,000 for Operation Streetsweeper; $900,000 for the Tuck School of Business/Minority Business Development Agency Partnership; $660,000 for the New Hampshire Cyber Crime Initiative; $250,000 for the Daniel Webster Boy Scout Council for outdoor education; and $100,000 for the Amoskeag Business Incubator.
$24,166,000 for projects in the state of Senate SSJC Appropriations Subcommittee member Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the districts of House appropriators Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) and Anne Northup (R-Ky.), including: $8,000,000 for Operation UNITE; $3,000,000 for the Southern and Eastern Kentucky Tourism Development Association; and $2,500,000 for the Southern and Eastern Kentucky Economic Development Corporation (SKED), which, according to its website, “is a community development organization formed in 1986 to create employment opportunities in a 42-county service area in Southern and Eastern Kentucky. It accomplishes this mission by recruiting new businesses, making direct loans, and providing economic development services to local communities. Since its creation, SKED has secured loans and grants totaling more than $18 million, providing funding for over 50 businesses which in turn have created more than 5,000 jobs throughout the region.”
$300,000 added in conference for the Tanks-a-Lock project in the state of Senate SSJC Appropriations Subcommittee member Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). According to a press release from Sen. Harkin’s office, “The Tanks-A-Lock program is very simple: it provides funding to purchase special locks for anhydrous ammonia tanks. Anhydrous ammonia is a key ingredient in the meth cocktail. The special locks for anhydrous ammonia tanks cost around $60 each.”
$100,000 added by the House for the Harpers Ferry Police Department in West Virginia. The population of Harpers Ferry was less than 400 in 2004 and the police force today consists of two full-time and one part-time police officers. This is the same size police force as the fictional town of Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show. Unfortunately, those are real tax dollars for Harpers Ferry.
$100,000 added in conference for the Richard Steele Boxing Club in Henderson, Nevada, in the state of Senate appropriator Harry Reid (D-Nev.). According to the Boxing Club’s website, “the Richard Steele Boxing Club is open to at-risk youth in Henderson, Nevada as well as the surrounding Las Vegas area. This program is currently designed to provide 300 to 600 youths, per year, ages 8 to 18 with USA boxing regulation competition in the sport of boxing and international Karate competition.” The first rule of Boxing Club is not to earmark money for Boxing Club.
$50,000 added by the House for the Rock in Prevention program (RIP) in Des Moines, Iowa. Its mission is “to reduce the illegal use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs by youth in Iowa and its bordering states. RIP utilizes ‘high school mentors’ with music and the arts, to teach and persuade children in an interactive approach to lead lives free of alcohol, tobacco and drugs.” Let’s hope that they are not listening to “White Punks on Dope.”
NASA used to be funded through the VA/HUD Bill. After some appropriations “musical chairs,” NASA is now part of the SSJC bill. NASA has been criticized by the Government Accountability Office for poor management, but part of NASA’s problems are caused by appropriators, who added $273 million in earmarks, in conference, without a budget request from the agency.
$17,700,000 for projects in the state of Senate SSJC Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and House appropriator Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), including: $4,000,000 for the Chesapeake Information Based Aeronautics Consortium in Baltimore; $2,500,000 for the Goddard Space Flight Center for radiance process dry-cleaning capability; and $200,000 for Coppin State University, for the Middle Passage Project to support the Geospatial Sciences Laboratory.
$5,000,000 for projects in the district of House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.): $4,000,000 for space radiation research at Loma Linda University, and $1,000,000 for academic programs at the University of Redlands.
$4,000,000 added for projects in the state of Senate appropriator Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), including: $1,250,000 for compact laser sensors at Montana State University; $600,000 for the Montana Technology and Innovation Partnership; and $500,000 for the AgCam Science Application Team at Montana State University.
$3,500,000 for the Educational Advancement Alliance to support the Alliance’s K-12 math, science and technology education and scholarship program.
$3,000,000 for the Mauna Kea Discovery Center in Hilo in the state of Senate SSJC Appropriations Subcommittee member Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).
$250,000 for the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey. According to the center’s website, “Liberty Science Center is the most visited museum in New Jersey and one of the most intensively used in the country. Since opening in 1993, we have introduced nearly nine million people to the wonder and awe of hands-on science discovery.” The center should discover other funding mechanisms.
Tucked away in the SSJC appropriations is $91 million for the Small Business Administration (SBA). According to SBA’s website, its mission is “to maintain and strengthen the nation's economy by aiding, counseling, assisting and protecting the interests of small businesses and by helping families and businesses recover from national disasters.” The following earmarks were deemed by members of Congress as critical to SBA’s mission:
$2,000,000 added in conference for the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
$2,100,000 added by the Senate for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee for the Southeastern Fiber Optic Project.
$2,000,000 for the Virginia Community College System web portal.
$1,870,000 added in conference for the MountainMade Foundation in the state of Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) and House SSJC Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.). According to MountainMade’s website: “While the isolation of the mountains helps to preserve our state’s largely unspoiled natural beauty, it can also make it difficult for our talented artists and craftspeople to gain access to the best markets in which to sell their work. In the early 1990’s Congressman Alan B. Mollohan (D-W.V.) realized that, through the use of technology, West Virginia artists and craftspeople could overcome some of these challenges and gain more exposure for their work by promoting their creations on the World Wide Web. The Robert C. Byrd National Technology Transfer Center at Wheeling Jesuit University took on that project and developed the initial web site. In November 2001, the non-profit MountainMade Foundation assumed administration of the program.” Craftily, the organization is still soaking the taxpayers.
$1,000,000 added in conference for Western Carolina University for a computer engineering program in the district of House SSJC Appropriations Subcommittee member Charles Taylor (R-N.C.).
$300,000 added in conference for projects in the district of House SSJC Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-Va.): $100,000 for the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation; $100,000 for the Belle Grove Plantation; and $100,000 for the Winchester-Frederick Convention and Visitor Bureau.
$100,000 for the South Carolina International Center for Automotive Research Park Innovation. This program is located at Clemson University and according to the center’s website: “The campus will be built on 400 acres of prime Greenville, S.C., property that fronts Interstate 85 halfway between Charlotte, N.C. and Atlanta, Ga., a corridor that is home to two-thirds of the nation’s motorsports racing teams. There already are 200 automotive-related businesses in South Carolina and another 114 automotive industry suppliers located in the Palmetto State.” Yes, they are racing away with our tax dollars.
$50,000 added in conference to establish the Tito Puente Legacy Project at Hostos Community College in the district of House SSJC Appropriations Subcommittee member Jose Serrano
XI. TRANSPORTATION/TREASURY/HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (TTHUD)
Appropriators sped to the fiscal 2006 TTHUD Act to stuff it with their favorite pet projects. The addition of the District of Columbia and HUD created a new dynamic for this bill. But the Economic Development Initiative (EDI) program remained a prime repository for pork. Projects increased by 8 percent, from 1,029 in fiscal 2005 to 1,119 in fiscal 2006. The total cost of EDI pork rose 20 percent from $260 million to $310 million in 2006. The total amount of pork in the TTHUD bill was $3.63 billion.
$161,015,000 for projects in the state of Senate TTHUD Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and the district of House appropriator Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), including: $1,000,000 for the Washington State ferries over wireless water project; $550,000 for the Museum of Glass in Tacoma; $500,000 for the Seattle Art Museum for construction of the Olympic Sculpture Park; and $325,000 each for the Spokane Symphony for renovations to the Fox Theater, and the renovation and expansion of the Seattle Aquarium.
$107,433,000 for projects added in the state of Senate TTHUD Appropriations Subcommittee member Kay Bailey Hutchison
(R-Texas), and the districts of House TTHUD Appropriations Subcommittee member John Culberson (R-Texas), and House appropriators Henry Bonilla (R-Texas), John Carter (R-Texas), Kay Granger (R-Texas), and Chet Edwards (D-Texas), including: $1,000,000 for compressed natural gas buses; $1,000,000 for the University of Texas Flywheel Bus and Truck Program; $500,000 for the Midland County Board of Commissioners Connection; $250,000 for Odessa for the renovation of the Historical Globe Theater; and $200,000 for Nacogdoches for renovations to the Fredonia Hotel and Convention Center.
$91,919,513 for projects added in the state of Senate TTHUD Appropriations Subcommittee member Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and the districts of House TTHUD Appropriations Subcommittee member Ralph Regula (R-Ohio) and House appropriator Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), including: $1,000,000 for the city of Springfield for expansion of the Applied Research Technology Park; $750,000 for Canton for construction of the community youth/recreation activity center; $400,000 Navarre for construction of a library for the Towpath Trail YMCA Community Center; $300,000 for Ashland Industrial Park Road construction; $250,000 for Greene for the purchase of Southgate Farm; $200,000 for St. Mary’s for renovations to the historic Glass Block; $100,000 for Cincinnati for the renovation of the Covedale Center for Performing Arts; $100,000 for Toledo for the construction of ice-skating rinks in city parks; and $75,000 for Lancaster for the renovation of a building for the glass-blowing museum.
$82,254,000 for projects added in the state of Senate TTHUD Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Christopher Bond (R-Mo.) and House appropriator Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), including: $5,000,000 for St. Louis Zoo public safety and transportation improvement projects; $5,880,000 for the Zora and Main Street Interchange; $750,000 for construction of a youth health museum in Boone County; $500,000 for the Missouri Soybean Association for test plots for the Life Sciences Research Development and Commercialization Project in Boone County. The Zora and Main Street Interchange is Missouri’s very own “bridge to nowhere.” Joplin requested the funding, purportedly to maintain safety and prevent congestion in the town of 50,000 people. But many local residents are adamantly opposed to the project. They maintain that the bridge and the interchange are being constructed on back roads that lie in the middle of nowhere. One resident noted, “They claim they are building this interchange to cut down congestion. There is no congestion. This is a deserted area in a small town.”
$32,375,000 for projects added in the District of Columbia. With D.C. appropriations folded into the fiscal 2006 TTHUD bill, appropriators had the opportunity to improve the economic health of the nation’s capital. Instead, appropriators threw in a plethora of wasteful pork-barrel projects, including: $1,200,000 for the Excel Institute; $1,000,000 for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Lincoln College refurbishments; $500,000 for the Earth Conservation Corps; $495,000 for the Ft. Dupont Ice Arena; $450,000 for the Center for Inspired Teaching; $100,000 for the Camp Arena Stage; $100,000 for the Friends of Carter Barron Foundation for the Performing Arts; and $50,000 for the Capitol Hill Baseball and Softball League. The government should be exercising fiscal responsibility, not supporting a local sports group.
$21,975,000 for projects added in the districts of House TTHUD Appropriations Subcommittee members Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.) and Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.), including: $1,000,000 for FAST-TRAC SCATS signal installations in Oakland County; $550,000 for the city of Detroit for the demolition of unsafe buildings; $350,000 for the city of Farmington for ADA compliance of the Municipal Riverfront Park; $250,000 for Walsh College in the city of Troy for library expansion; $200,000 for MotorCities National Heritage Area in Detroit for renovations to the historic Piquette Plant; $150,000 for the city of Farmington for trail improvements to Shiawassee Park; and $100,000 for the Detroit Zoo for construction of the Ford Center for Environmental and Conservation Education.
$12,150,000 for projects added in the district of House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), including: $3,000,000 for the Ranchero road grade separation in Hesperia; $1,000,000 for Apple for Civic Center Park development; $350,000 for Yucaipa for development of the Yucaipa Valley Regional Sports Complex; $300,000 for Omni Trans para transit vehicles; $100,000 for San Bernardino for renovations to the National Orange Show Stadium; and $100,000 for San Bernardino County for the development of Santa Ana River Regional Park.
$11,605,000 added in the districts of House TTHUD Appropriations Subcommittee member John Sweeney (R-N.Y.) and House appropriators James Walsh (R-N.Y.), Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), and Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.), including: $1,100,000 for the repair of the Route 9 Bridge and Vanderbilt Wall, which has received $4.3 million since fiscal 2002; $745,000 for the Thomas Cole National Historic Site; $500,000 for Warren County for facilities construction at North Creek Ski Bowl; $400,000 for the Arthur Avenue Retail Market; $350,000 for Columbia County for restoration of the historic Great Stone Barn; and $100,000 for Fort Ann for construction of the Adirondack Golden Goal complex. The organization refers to the complex as “the Crown Jewel of youth soccer tournaments.” What a kick in the grass for taxpayers.
$950,000 for a parking facility at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska. The museum, built by the wife of prominent businessman George Joslyn, profits from donations, as well as $7 tours, $25 lectures, $45 memberships, and $220 art classes.
$500,000 for construction of the Sparta Teapot Museum in Sparta, North Carolina. Supporters of the project claim that the museum “will expose its visitors to an unexpected art form the teapot.” State Representative Jim Harrell III (D-Alleghany) hopes the public funding will increase private donations and the resulting tourism will boost the local economy. State Senator Don East (R-Alleghany) noted that if lawmakers continued to pass out pork, he wanted “poor little Alleghany County” to get some as well. However, Senator East is not convinced that the museum is going to bring an influx of tourists to the area. In an interview with the Carolina Journal , East admitted, “It’s a crapshoot whether we will ever realize a lot out of tourism. Hopefully we will.” Taxpayers should be steamed that their money is being gambled on this project.
$250,000 for the National Cattle Congress (NCC) in Waterloo, Iowa for renovation and construction of facilities. The NCC sponsors an annual fair and charges $7 for admission. Fair activities include: the Second Annual Cattle Congress Cage Combat, the ‘Survivor” Family Game Show, Jocko & the J’s Monkey Show, and Steeple’s Wild West Bear Show.
$200,000 for expansion of the Wilmington Music School in Wilmington, Delaware. The music school recently held the third annual “Brunch with Beethoven”, at which members could participate in a private auction and attend a champagne- tasting seminar for $45.
$200,000 for the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society Old Mint Restoration Project. The San Francisco Museum and Historical Society hopes to “highlight the authentic assets and remove the non-historic elements of this National Historic Landmark, returning it to its original splendor while making it suitable for public use and enjoyment.”
$100,000 for the city of Thousand Oaks, California to construct a community aquatics complex on the campus of California Lutheran University. The project, constructed in a town with a median household income of $76,815, will include a 50-meter swimming pool, in which taxpayers can watch their hard-earned money drown.
You can see the whole gem HERE