WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) announced the results of its online poll for the 2013 Porker of the Year. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) won with 25 percent of the vote while House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) placed a close second with 23 percent. The neck-and-neck race epitomizes the widespread dissatisfaction with Congress that has been shown in poll after poll. Taxpayers are appalled by the isolation and detachment of most members of Congress and their misreading of the gnawing economic problems facing the country, as well as individual members’ obsession with spending taxpayer money on parochial, self-interested side-show projects.
Rep. Blumenauer’s transgression is emblematic of Washington’s culture at a microcosmic level. He careened into a fiscal ditch during a December 3, 2013 appearance on “Your World with Neil Cavuto” when pitching his bill, H.R. 3636, the UPDATE Act of 2013, that would increase the federal gas tax from the current 18.4 cents per gallon to 33.4 cents per gallon. Rep. Blumenauer stated, “Because we have just sort of run the gas tax trust fund down to where it is approaching zero, if we don’t do something in the next ten months, we’re going to face an inability to fund any transit funding next year, and the federal highway funding will drop 92 percent. It’s time to face up.”
The congressman’s prognosis was correct but his solution was misguided. In addition, Rep. Blumenauer has been a prominent proponent of siphoning transportation money away from vital infrastructure in order to fund pet projects like bicycle paths and pedestrian walkways. Taxpayers have coughed up $9.6 billion for these low-priority boondoggles through fiscal year (FY) 2013. Congress also has had to transfer $41 billion since FY 2008 from the general fund to shore up the failing Highway Trust Fund, with an additional transfer of $12.6 billion scheduled for FY 2014, yet members of Congress like Rep. Blumenauer have just as quickly been throwing it away.
While Blumenauer’s penchant for pork pedaled him to the finish line for Porker of the Year, Rep. Steny Hoyer amply demonstrated the overall obtuseness and incoherence of the big spenders in the nation’s capital. On February 12, 2013 when asked by CNBC “Squawk Box” anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera if the government has a spending problem, Rep. Hoyer insisted, “The country has a paying for problem. We haven’t paid for what we bought, we haven’t paid for our tax cuts, and we haven’t paid for war.” Nine days later, Rep. Hoyer appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to admit, “There is a spending problem. What I meant by that was that you don’t have a problem if you pay for what you buy.” Huh?
“All of us at CAGW appreciate the participation of the online community of taxpayers in our Porker of the Year poll. They clearly understand both the thumbnail examples of individual members and their ongoing impulse to pinch a million here, a billion there to underwrite their own vanity projects, as well as the big picture failures of Washington’s overall culture of waste,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz. “With the nation’s debt at $17.2 trillion and climbing, the taxpayers know that smart spending cuts are the only appropriate course of action to reduce the deficit and restore economic growth.”
Dubious third-place honors were awarded to Reps. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) with 17 percent of the vote for their infinitely absurd idea to establish a national park on the moon. Honorable mentions went to Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.).
CAGW is the nation's largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Year is a dubious honor given to a lawmaker, government official, or political candidate who has shown the most blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers throughout the year.