WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) earmarked the January Porkers of the Month as Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-Va.) for their flagrant fiscal fouls during a January 22, 2014 interview with CQ Roll Call regarding the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014.
In response to anti-earmark crusader Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) floor remarks lambasting appropriators for “overstepping their bounds” and comments that he believes the “flawed” omnibus process leaves the bill “wide open for pork,” Sen. Shelby responded by saying, “We have no earmarks in there. No bill’s perfect, but overall this is a good bill.” Rep. Wolf followed suit by stating, “This is what Congress is here for, to have policy. So there are no earmarks in this bill, but these are policy issues that make a difference for the country.”
Earmarks are not policy; they are good old-fashioned pork. CAGW’s initial analysis of the omnibus uncovered at least a dozen examples of earmarks tucked away inside the 1,532-page bill, including $341 million for the Army Corps of Engineers for construction and investigations, $45.1 million for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, $5 million for abstinence education, and $4 million for aquatic plant control.
While the omnibus includes a few provisions that would increase transparency and help eliminate wasteful spending, including a $49 million reduction for the biofuels program and a prohibition on food stamp advertising and outreach to foreign governments, the bill fails to take significant steps toward eliminating duplicative and overlapping programs identified by the Government Accountability Office over the past three years, which according to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) costs an estimated $295 billion annually.
Earmarking in any form and under any definition continues to present opportunities to abuse the taxpayers’ hard-earned money. Since members of Congress believe there are no earmarks in the omnibus, there is no transparency or accountability and no names attached to programs or projects.
Sen. Shelby’s and Rep. Wolf’s remarks prove that members of both parties still haven’t gotten the message and are more than willing to pull the wool over taxpayers’ eyes if given the chance. By encouraging more earmarks to slip past the moratorium, Sen. Shelby and Rep. Wolf further entrench Washington’s culture of waste and double-talk, making them CAGW’s January Porkers of the Month.
CAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.