WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) our July 2021 Porker of the Month for introducing the wasteful and earmark-loaded INVEST in America Act.
Rep. DeFazio led the effort to pass the exorbitantly expensive five-year $715 billion transportation bill, which is chock full of wasteful spending and earmarks. Less than half of the money allocated is for traditional infrastructure. The bill contains 1,473 earmarks costing taxpayers $5.66 billion, for which Democrats received more than twice as much money as Republicans, $3.96 billion to $1.7 billion. Earmarks included bicycle paths, sidewalks, and beautification projects. Members of Congress who went all-in on funding for bike paths include $4 million by Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) for the Walk Bike Columbia project; $3.8 million by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) for the North San Jose Bike Plan; $3 million by Rep. Eleanor Norton (D-D.C.) for protected bike lanes; and, $800,000 by Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) for the Aurora Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan Update project. Rep. Garett Graves (R-La.) requested $945.6 million for the construction of a bridge in his district, but thankfully the project went unfunded. The INVEST in America Act appeases “Amtrak Joe Biden” by setting aside $29 billion over five years for Amtrak, more than doubling its current annual budget of $2.7 billion. Rep. DeFazio also included Green New Deal policies, claiming that, “We have a new existential challenge, which is climate change.” Those policies have no place in this bill, which is supposed to be focused on traditional infrastructure.
CAGW President Tom Schatz said, “The House version of the highway bill demonstrates that legislators eagerly jump at the chance to include earmarks. This sets a dangerous precedent and forecasts a gloomy future for other spending bills. Not only does the INVEST in America Act prove that bringing back earmarks was a terrible mistake, but it also proves that members of Congress cannot help themselves when it comes to wasting taxpayer dollars. Rep. DeFazio’s INVEST in America Act is a bad investment for America and for taxpayers. It drives spending off the rails with hundreds of billions in spending unrelated to infrastructure and billons in earmarks. Rep. DeFazio was an easy choice for this month’s Porker.”
Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. For more than two decades, Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers and government officials who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.