CAGW President Tom Schatz was joined at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. by Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker (R-N.C.), and Reps. Bill Flores (R-Texas), Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), and Ralph Norman (R-S.C.). Also in attendance was a live pot-bellied pig named Faye from Richmond, Virginia.
2018 Congressional Pig Book facts:
- The 2018 Congressional Pig Book exposes 232 earmarks in FY 2018, (42.3 percent increase from FY 2017) costing taxpayers $14.7 billion (116.2 percent increase from FY 2017).
- The 116.2 percent increase in the cost of earmarks is nearly nine times greater than the increase in discretionary spending (13.4 percent) between FY 2017 and FY 2018.
- The $14.7 billion in FY 2018 earmarks is more than half of the record $29 billion in FY 2006. At the rate of increase over FY 2017, Congress could set a new record for pork-barrel spending before the end of President Trump’s first term.
- For the sixth time since Congress enacted an earmark “moratorium” in fiscal year (FY) 2011, CAGW has unearthed earmarks in appropriations bills.
- Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) earmarked the entire $16.7 million appropriation for the East-West Center after President Trump’s FY 2018 budget and the House Appropriations Committee both zeroed it out.
- The precipitous increase in pork-barrel spending occurs behind closed doors and hidden from taxpayers. There are no names of legislators attached to each earmark and limited information on where and how the money will be spent.
- Since 1991, Congress has approved 110,861 earmarks costing $344.5 billion.
- $2.7 billion (the largest amount ever) for 20 additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. In development for nearly 17 years and seven years behind schedule, total acquisition costs now exceed $406 billion, nearly double the initial estimate of $233 billion. An April 2015 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report noted that the lifetime operation and maintenance costs of the most expensive weapon system in history will total approximately $1 trillion.
- $65 million for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF). The White House’s FY 2017 budget notes that programs like the PCSRF favor state, local, and/or industry interests, are “not optimally targeted … favor certain species and geographic areas over others,” and do not direct funds to programs and projects that have “the greatest need or potential benefit.”
- $13 million for the Save America’s Treasures (SAT) grants program. Intended to help preserve historic locations across the country, SAT grants are often used to fund local museums, opera houses, and theaters. Former President Obama called for the elimination of SAT in his FY 2011 budget.
- $663,000 for a brown tree snake eradication program. The snakes are native to northern Australia, Indonesia, and many of the islands in Melanesia, but have caused damage to the ecosystem of Guam, where they were likely introduced by the U.S. military following World War II.
CAGW President Tom Schatz said in a statement:
“The 2018 Congressional Pig Book reveals that Washington’s earmark addiction is getting much worse. Even worse, some of the same members of Congress who claim to “Drain the Swamp” are the ones who are attempting to return this corrupt system to prominence. Pushing pork does not drain the swamp. The only way to clean up Washington is to do the opposite: adopt a permanent ban on pork-barrel earmarks.”
Citizens Against Government Waste is the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.