Lets see, Some kind of money for peanut and beet farmers. Some money to rebuild storm damaged billboards. A new hairdo for Nancy Pelosi and a new subscription to Old Geezer magazine for Harry Reid.
"I like peanuts as much as the next guy, but I believe the security of our troops should come before the security of our peanut crop," Bush said in his weekly radio address, referring to a provision in the war funding legislation that earmarks $74 million for secure peanut storage.
Money for peanut storage in Georgia, spinach growers in California, menhaden in the Atlantic Ocean and even more office space for the lawmakers themselves is included in what has ballooned into a $124 billion war bill.
That includes $74 million for peanut storage, $25 million for spinach growers and $100 million for citrus growers.
It also includes $16 million to convert the old Food and Drug Administration building in southwest D.C. into more office space for the Capitol. That "emergency" expenditure comes at a time when taxpayers already shell out $600 million "more than double the original estimate" for a mammoth expansion of the Capitol, which includes 160,000 feet of new office space.
2007 Pig Book Summary
The 2007 Congressional Pig Book Summary gives a snapshot of each appropriations bill and details 24 of the juiciest projects culled from the complete Pig Book. (.pdf)
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Defense | Homeland Security
According to the Chinese calendar, 2007 is the Year of the Pig. Fortunately for American taxpayers, it will be a smaller pig than usual. The 2007 Congressional Pig Book has not been this little since 1999, as only two of the 11 appropriations bills were enacted by Congress and the remaining nine were subject to a moratorium on earmarks. There are no indoor rainforests, National Peanut Festivals, mariachi music grants, or teapot museums to be found.
This year’s Pig Book breaks a run of seven consecutive years of record dollar amounts of pork, culminating in $29 billion in the 2006 Congressional Pig Book. This lesser barrel of pork can be attributed to the efforts of Senators Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who prevented the enactment of nine appropriations bills in December, 2006, and the subsequent moratorium on earmarks announced and enforced by the House and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairmen David Obey (D-Wis.) and Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) in H. J. Res. 20, the bill that funds the government for the remainder of fiscal 2007.
There is still enough pork to cause concern for taxpayers, as 2,658 projects were stuffed into the Defense and Homeland Security Appropriations Acts, at a cost of $13.2 billion. Pork identified in the Pig Book since 1991 totals $252 billion. Defense had 2,618 projects, or 204 less than in 2006, at a cost of $10.8 billion, or 28 percent less than the $14.9 billion in 2006. For homeland security, the totals were $2.4 billion, or 10 percent less than the $2.7 billion in 2006, and 40 projects, or five more than in 2006.
While only two bills were enacted, the states of Alaska and Hawaii, which have been the top two states in pork per capita every year but one since 2000, were served more then their fair share of bacon by Senators Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii). In the defense appropriations bill alone, Alaska received $209,900,000, a 127 percent increase over the total of $92,425,000 in 2006.
Based on historical figures, the enactment of H. J. Res. 20 eliminated more than 7,000 earmarks and saved between $12-$15 billion in pork-barrel spending. Unfortunately, in this Year of the Pig, taxpayers are not getting a pork dividend. Instead, Congress took the savings and spent it on other programs.
Despite the moratorium on earmarks, the siren’s song of pork is too tempting for some members of Congress, who have called federal agencies to pressure them to divert money to pet projects that were included in committee reports. The Bush Administration told agencies to ignore such oral communications.
While taxpayers should celebrate a reduction in the number and cost of pork-barrel projects, there is still much work that needs to be done to ensure that members of Congress do not return to their piggish ways in the future.
The 24 projects, totaling $2.4 billion, in this year’s Congressional Pig Book Summary symbolize the most egregious and blatant examples of pork.
As in previous years, all of the items in the Congressional Pig Book Summary meet at least one of CAGW’s seven criteria, but most satisfy at least two:
Requested by only one chamber of Congress;
Not specifically authorized;
Not competitively awarded;
Not requested by the President;
Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;
Not the subject of congressional hearings; or
Serves only a local or special interest.
Efficient and effective operation of the Department of Defense (DOD) is critical to ensuring the security of our nation and the safety of our troops. While American military forces fight for peace and democracy in the Middle East, Pentagon officials struggle to create a lean, mean, war-fighting machine; the good news is that appropriators are winning fewer battles over defense priorities. From fiscal 2006 to fiscal 2007, the number of porkbarrel projects decreased by 7 percent from 2,822 to 2,618, while the total cost went down 28 percent, from $14.9 billion to $10.8 billion.
$1,190,000,000 for full funding of 20 F-22A fighter jets; this barrel of pork is so big that Congress will not even spend it all in one year. The bill funds 20 F-22s per year until 2009. The F-22 was originally designed as an air superiority fighter for use against the Soviet Air Force. Before Congress put the ink on the check, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) sent a 13-page letter on June 20, 2006 to then-House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman C.W. (Bill) Young urging Congress to stop funding this program due to its high cost and the fact that the aircraft is out of date. The GAO said, “DOD has not demonstrated the need or value for making further investments in the F-22A program.” The GAO also noted that the F-22s “are not sufficient to be effective in the current and future national security environment.” There are 22 test F-35 aircrafts that are more modern, effective, and cheaper. In 2003, Popular Science reported the F-22 had a price tag of $120 million each while the F-35 cost $35 million. In June 2006, the GAO report raised the F-22’s numbers, concluding that the multi-year contract would drive per-plane costs up to $183 million from $166 million. The F-35 made its maiden flight in December 2006. Apparently, the F-22 will be stopped only when pigs can fly.
$319,655,000 for projects in the state of then-Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), including: $20,000,000 for the Army Compatible Use Buffer Program (ACUB); $11,500,000 to fund Pan-STARRS to develop a large aperture telescope with the University of Hawaii to prevent space objects from colliding with Earth; $5,600,000 for the Center of Excellence for Research in Ocean Sciences, $4,500,000 for chitosan bandage component which utilizes natural compounds found in shrimp heads; and $1,000,000 for a wave power electric generating system. The ACUB works on “conservation planning at the ecosystem level to ensure that greater benefits are realized towards species and habitat recovery.” The Army’s objectives with this program include: “Reduce training restrictions, meet Endangered Species Act recovery responsibilities, prevent development along installation boundaries, and prevent future threatened and endangered species listings.” Thanks to programs like ACUB, the ecosystem for oinkers is thriving in Hawaii.
$209,900,000 added for projects in the state of then-Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), an increase of 127 percent over the $92,425,000 for Alaska in the fiscal 2006 defense bill, including: $59,100,000 for upgrades to the Pacific Alaskan Range Complex in Red Flag; $4,000,000 for the Northern Line Extension, and $3,200,000 for HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program), which has received $109.1 million in pork since 1995. The Northern Line Extension will provide a direct route from North Pole (pop. 1,778 in 2005) to Delta Junction (pop. 840 in 2000), which is a whopping 82.1 mile drive on one highway between the two villages according to MapQuest. The Alaska Railroad Corporation said, “The proposed rail line would provide freight and potentially passenger rail services serving commercial interests and communities in or near the project corridor.”
$102,000,000 for projects in the state of Senate appropriator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and the district of House appropriator Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), including: $9,500,000 for the Extended ColdWeather Clothing System; $5,000,000 for the Energetics Technology Center, $3,250,000 for the Rotorcraft Survivability Assessment Facility; $2,500,000 for PEM fuel cell tactical generators; $2,000,000 for Life Shield® blast resistant panels, developed by Life Shield Engineered Systems in Maryland; and $1,000,000 for the SureTrak Program.
$72,720,000 added for projects in Nevada by then-Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), including: $7,000,000 for the SA-90 airship persistent surveillance program; $3,750,000 for a counter-drug program for the Nevada National Guard; $3,000,000 for large aircraft infrared countermeasures; $1,950,000 for heat dissipation for electronic systems and $1,300,000 for the study of the structural reliability of smart munitions and lightweight structures at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Sen. Reid bragged about securing millions of dollars for money-hungry programs by announcing funding for “Nevada defense projects including operating expenses at Nevada military bases, research projects at state universities, and grants to private companies developing high-tech defense systems in Nevada.” This occurred before the time when now-Majority Leader Reid attempted to block expanded earmark reform in the Senate in January 2007, and was embarrassingly defeated when a few Democrats and most Republicans stood up against him.
$59,000,000 for medical research projects ranging from cancer to diabetes to gynecological disease. As important as this research may be, there is no mention as to why these programs should receive money from the Department of Defense. One program which weighs heavily on taxpayers in this category is $1.35 million for the “Obesity in the Military Research Program.”
$35,000,000 for Impact Aid, which is described by the website of the Military Impacted Schools Association as “the federal government paying its ‘tax bill’ to local school districts as a result of the presence of a military installation.” The funding included $5,000,000 for Impact Aid for children with disabilities. It is the taxpayers who are impacted by this aid.
$18,300,000 added in the Senate for defense educational programs. Program funding includes $2,000,000 for “Mathematics and Technology Teachers Development” and “Cyber Curriculum for the Education of Children in the Military;” $1,100,000 for the “Reach Out and Read Early Literacy Program;” and $1,000,000 for the “Parents as Teachers Program,” which is “a parent education and early childhood development program serving parents throughout pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten.”
$8,000,000 added by the Senate for “special assistance to local education agencies.” This is a part of the educational arm of the Department of Defense also known as DOD Dependents Education.
$5,500,000 added by the House for the Gallo Center. According to its website, “The Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center (EGCRC) at the University of California, San Francisco (USCF) was established in 1980 to study basic neuroscience and the effects of alcohol and drug abuse on the brain.” There is no mention of any defense-related research. Apparently, they will serve no pork before its time.
$5,300,000 to study marine mammals, such as whales. The House added $3,500,000 for a program increase and a “marine mammal hearing and echolocation research” program. Scientific Solutions, based in Nashua, N.H., will receive $1,800,000 million to fund an “Integrated Marine Mammal Monitoring and Protection system.” The Navy claims to be the “world leader in marine mammal research, spending nearly $10 million per year on research to understand how marine mammals hear and how they are affected by sound.”
$5,000,000 added in the House for alcohol breath testers. According to the House fiscal 2006 Department of Defense Appropriations Report, “The impact of excessive alcohol use and driving under the influence continues as a leading cause of ground accidents, injury, death, and physical damage across the Services.” Out of the $5 million total, $4,500,000 will directly go toward the procurement of Breathscan® alcohol testers. They are already in use at Fort Bliss, Texas as the Army Surgeon General issued individual breathalyzers before the start of the 2006 holiday season.
$3,335,000 added by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) for the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, home of the “Hard Rockers” football team. The school received $2,000,000 for future affordable multi-utility materials for the Army Future Combat System; $500,000 for improvised explosive device simulation in different soils; $300,000 for a control system for laser powder deposition; $285,000 for shielding rocket payloads; and $250,000 for transparent nanocomposite armor. According to a July 12, 2006 press release, the School of Mines has received more than $70 million in congressional appropriations for projects and research since 2001.
$1,650,000 added by Senate appropriator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to improve the shelf life of vegetables. According to the senator’s July 2006 press release, “This project will help our troops in the field get fresh tomatoes…” The funding would help “establish and evaluate variant populations of bell pepper, cantaloupe and strawberry.” The money is being directed toward Arcadia Biosciences, a company based in Seattle. In all, Sen. Murray claims to have “secured $55 million in federal defense work for Washington state companies in the Fiscal Year 2007 Defense Appropriations bill.” On Capitol Hill, Sen. Murray has already extended the shelf life of her own pork products.
$1,000,000 added in the House for the Allen Telescope Array in Mountain View, Calif. This “alien” project is part of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). SETI describes the telescope as “dedicated to astronomical and simultaneous search for extra-terrestrial intelligence observations.” No word on how it will help defend the world against an alien invasion.
$1,000,000 secured by now-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to fund the Military Intelligence Service Historic Learning Center. In a September 2006 press release announcing her pork victory, she said the center will serve as an “education center and project to preserve the site of the U.S. Army’s first language school established in 1941.”
II. HOMELAND SECURITY
While only two appropriations acts were passed, appropriators squeezed all the pork they could into them. The fiscal 2007 Homeland Security Appropriations Act proved yet again that while the threat of terrorism and natural disasters still exist, so too does Congress’s penchant for pork. The number of projects in the bill increased by 14 percent from 35 in fiscal 2006 to 40 in fiscal 2007, while spending decreased 10 percent from $2.7 billion to $2.4 billion, after a 57 percent increase between fiscal 2005 and 2006.
$225,000,000 for port security grants, a 29 percent increase from last year’s total. Pork-barrel funding for this program has more than doubled in two years. Established in 2002, the grants are an opportunity for private companies and port authorities to apply for federal financing to improve security at ports. An audit performed by the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2005 revealed that some of the grants “appeared to be for a purpose other than security against an act of terrorism.” According to the audit, 95 percent of all international commerce enters the United States through the nation’s 360 ports, but nearly 80 percent comes through only 10 ports. While Congress intended the grants to protect ports that have the highest volume of cargo, handle hazardous material, or are located near military facilities, the audit found DHS was distributing the funds in a broad, unfocused manner. As a result, the department “had no assurance that the program is protecting the nation's most critical and vulnerable port infrastructure and assets.” Although major ports received funding, so too did smaller ones, including ports in Ludington, Michigan; Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts; and six located in Arkansas, none of which appeared to meet grant eligibility requirements, according to the audit.
$78,693,000 for a replacement patrol boat to be used until the Fast Response Cutter (FRC) program becomes operational in 2018. The FRC is part of Deepwater, which is run by a joint venture between Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin called Integrated Coast Guard Systems. Deepwater is the Coast Guard’s 20-year, $24 billion plan to modernize its fleet, and has come under fire for significant design flaws that will likely increase maintenance costs, limit ships’ ability to travel far from port, and ultimately shorten their useful life. Furthermore, DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner stated in a January, 2007 report on Deepwater and its cornerstone ship, the National Security Cutter (NSC), that the Coast Guard had relinquished its oversight authority to contractors. The report’s executive summary stated: “The NSC, as designed and constructed, will not meet performance specifications described in the original Deepwater contract. Specifically, due to design deficiencies, the NSC’s structure provides insufficient fatigue strength … [which will] increase the cutter’s maintenance costs and reduce its service life.” All in all, Deepwater has proven to be a boondoggle a fact made worse by the critical role it plays in our national security.
$12,000,000 for intercity bus security grants for the improvement of ticket identification, installation of driver shields, enhancement of emergency communications, upgrading facility security, and further implementation of passenger screening. The Intercity Bus Security Grant Program is one of five grant programs that make up the DHS fiscal 2007 Infrastructure Protection Program, designed to offset the cost of protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure. For the third year in a row, this program shows up in the Pig Book. Money continues to be directed to profitable, private companies that should be able to fund these measures themselves.
$12,000,000 added by the House for the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium in the district of then-House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.). This program is supposed to help protect citizens living in rural areas by training rural emergency responder teams. The funding is to be distributed to an assortment of universities that are not yet known. Meanwhile, funding for the program has increased by 20 percent from last year’s level.
$12,000,000 for trucking security grants to continue the HighwayWatch Program, designed to enhance security on the nation’s highways. According to the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs website, the HighwayWatch Program, which is managed by the American Trucking Association, “recruits and trains highway professionals to identify and report security and safety situations on the nation’s roads.” What happened to the good old-fashioned Highway Patrol? $4,500,000 added in conference for the Secure Border Coordination Office, designed to implement the integration of border security and immigration enforcement. The office is also charged with implementing the Secure Border Initiative (SBInet), a multi-year plan to improve border security with a combination of personnel, infrastructure, and technology, that has come under criticism. In May 2006, then-House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) stated, “What we need is a sound, comprehensive strategy that allows us to measure progress. Without a strategic border security plan we are simply planning to fail.” Also in May, then-Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Martin Olav Sabo (D-Minn.) wrote to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, “I am deeply concerned that the SBInet solicitation is so broad that the government will, in effect, be turning over its responsibility to secure our borders to the private sector.”
$3,000,000 added by the House for the Office of the Federal Coordinator (OFC) for Gulf Coast rebuilding. Since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita ravaged much of the Gulf Coast in 2005, the recovery progress has been abysmal. Through the Road Home Program, OFC Director Donald Powell is hoping to “get residents of Louisiana back into their homes as quickly and fairly as possible.” However, in a letter to Sudhakar Kesavan, CEO of ICF International, the contractor running the program, Powell expressed concern that the speed of payments to individuals who lost their homes has been sluggish. In December 2006, Powell stated, “As I write this letter, only 92 homeowners have received financial assistance out of over 80,000 applicants, or .1 percent of applicants. This rate must drastically improve.” The Road Home Program has considerable problems; appropriating more money will not provide solace to homeowners or taxpayers.
$2,500,000 added in conference for the U.S. Secret Service National Special Security Events Fund. The purpose of the fund is to help plan and coordinate major events, such as national political conventions, international summits, presidential inaugurations, the Super Bowl, and even the Olympics when hosted by the U.S. These events take years to organize; the funding should be treated the same way. If money needs to be allocated, it should be requested in advance, included in the budget, and authorized.
This booklet was written by David E. Williams, vice president, policy, Sean Kennedy, research associate, and Ben Giovine, research assistant. It was edited by Thomas A. Schatz, president.