Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dems plan to use war-funding bill for more pork

Just when you thought you had reached the physiological limits of outrage, The Washington Examiner reports:
As senators prepare to vote on a $58.8 billion supplemental war-spending bill, a fight is looming over whether to pay for it or simply add the cost to the nation's soaring deficit.

President Obama and Democratic leaders are hoping to use the war funding bill as a vehicle for passing billions of dollars in additional domestic spending, including $23 billion to avert teacher layoffs.

But that plan is running into problems in the Senate, where Republicans are pushing for ways to offset the cost, while some Democrats are reluctant to increase the price tag on the war funding bill.

Democrats plan to use a similar tactic to push through a repeal of the military's "don't ask don't tell" policy by attaching it to a bill authorizing next year's defense spending.
That's only the tip of the pork iceberg.  Henry Sokolski at the NRO Corner adds:
Let’s see. The United States is broke. Our government has no choice but to cover the costs of our troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq and to pay out disaster relief before Memorial Day recess. So what do the President and the speaker of the House focus on? Cutting a deal to ram through $18 billion in energy pork while nobody’s looking.

Never mind that the $18 billion is for unnecessary federal energy loan guarantees ($9 billion for nuclear power and $9 billion for renewables) or that the latest analysis suggests that more than a quarter of the applicants for these loans are likely to default on them. Nor does it seem to matter that just last month at House hearings, both the chairman and the ranking member voiced skepticism about making these loans until they had much more information.

Last week, Republican senator Thad Cochran urged Senators to resist amendments to the War Supplemental Bill that are unrelated to the military or disaster relief. After hearing about this and other deals, Republican senator Tom Coburn was blunter: “The emergency designation of this bill,” he argued, “is a farce designed to evade the budget rules that require Congress to pay for new spending.” You’d like to think that the House Appropriations Committee would block this one when it comes up for a vote later this week.

The nuclear industry, though, is eager for a bailout. Those keen for renewable energy subsidies are as well and succeeded in lobbying the White House and the House leadership to get them to cut a deal. And so a deal was cut.

One is tempted to say this is Washington business as usual except in this case, it’s more about subsidies for buddies than it is about making any money. Given how deep in debt our government is, it is hard to believe that this is what our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq are fighting for or what their commander in chief should be promoting in a bill for their relief. Tea-party activists, fiscal conservatives, voters, and just plain taxpayers, take note.
Obama pledged no more bailouts and pay as you go.  What a joke.  And attaching these special interest pork projects to a supplemental war-spending bill is beneath contempt.

I join Mr. Sokolski in his appeal:  taxpayers, VOTERS, take note.

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