Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) is challenging Congress to block any funding for unrelated pork projects in coming aid packages for Hurricane Katrina. Today, the House will vote to push $51.8 billion dollars for relief efforts.
CAGW President Tom Shatz said, “In the past, members of Congress have shortchanged troops, disaster victims, and taxpayers by including self-serving pork projects in emergency spending bills.”
Some may balk at such measures in the face of disaster, but unfortunately emergency supplemental bills have a history of becoming opportunities for Congress to take advantage of funds.
For example, in April 2005, the Fort Peck Fish Hatchery in Montana got a whopping $25 million as a part of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief package (H.R. 1268). $500,000 also went to promote the oral history of the Negotiated Settlement Project at University of Nevada Reno and Fire Sciences Academy in Elko, Nevada.
Another equally appalling move was made by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) in 2003, when he snatched $200,000 for minority outreach at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine with money intended for natural disasters, homeland security and associated costs with Space Shuttle Columbia explosion.
CAGW is asking Congress to sign a pledge to oppose any projects not directly related to Hurricane Katrina impacts. Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Reps. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Tom Cole (R-Okla.) are supporting the pledge
Cole said restraint is needed and pork-barreling would “only be stealing from the victims.”