Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Pork barrel spending

President Bush has stated he will veto the Iraq spending bill because it contains timelines for withdrawal of American troops and pork barrel spending for Democratic agenda items.

Republicans stage outrage over attaching pork barrel spending to such important legislation and decry Democrats for this spending, even though it funds Katrina relief, draught relief and other disaster related spending.

Recall what happened in 1997. The Flood of the Century ravaged North Dakota and Minnesota. My sister was a UND student at the time and, as I recall, they simply ended the semester in April 2007. Going back, you can see the immense power of a flood. You can still see the strains in both Grand Forks and East Grand Forks.

The flood monument is a powerful statement to show just how high those waters got.

But Republicans attached several pieces of pork barrel legislation to the Flood Relief Act.

Recall this exchange between Pat Buchanan and Senator Kent Conrad

CNN Crossfire, June 10, 1997

BUCHANAN: Let me tell you something.....

CONRAD: There is not money for highways. There is not money for the school districts that have been affected.

BUCHANAN: There would be.

CONRAD: There is not money for the ranchers that have lost hundreds of thousands of head of cattle.

BUCHANAN: All right, let me talk to you....

CONRAD: None of those things are happening and a local official told me, by the way, the mayor, that if they say the pipeline is flowing, there must be concrete in the pipeline because the money is not getting through.

BUCHANAN: Now let me talk for a second. If your president had signed that bill, money would be flowing to the ranchers, money would be flowing for the highways, money would be flowing for the farmers and the only amendment he would have had to accept was look, we won't shut down the government in the fall and put all these people through hell. Why is your president being a selfish individual? Why doesn't he play the big man and say sure, I'll take that amendment, let's get that money up there to North Dakota?

CONRAD: The president didn't put unrelated matters in a disaster bill. I've been in the.....

BUCHANAN: Why didn't the president take the unrelated matters and say I'm a bigger man and do it?

PRESS: Let him answer, Pat. Let him answer.

CONRAD: Well, Pat, if you ask a question, give me the chance to answer.


CONRAD: The president did not put unrelated matters in a disaster bill. The fact is this is holding up disaster relief. Now, the way we can resolve this is to have those who have strong feelings about the proposal of Senator McCain and other proposals, to offer them on other pieces of legislation. We could get an agreement. No filibuster. Straight up or down vote. And give the people who have been hit by disasters a chance to get their lives back in order.

BUCHANAN: Did you recommend to the president that he veto a bill which would have sent that aid to North Dakota?

CONRAD: No, I didn't recommend that he veto a bill, but I certainly understand his vetoing a bill that has, you know, in typically Congressional fashion, the old Christmas tree approach. Here comes a bill that everybody knows is going to become law, so let's everybody attach their own ornament. Let's everybody attach the thing that they care the most about to it, because they know that ultimately this is going to become law.

More to follow on the manufactured Republican outrage on pork barrel spending.

No comments: