December 29, 2007
The omnibus bill passed by Congress is a massive vehicle loaded with pork, gimmicks, excessive spending, and bad policy, says Nicola Moore, Research Coordinator at the Heritage Foundation.
For instance, the omnibus added more than 9,000 earmarks totaling more than $23 billion. Examples include:
- The Charles Rangel "Monument to Me" ($1.95 million) and rodent control in Alaska ($113,000).
- Olive fruit fly research in France ($213,000) and a river walk in Massachusetts ($1 million).
In addition, the bill includes as emergency spending (which is not counted against total spending numbers in the budget):
- $100 million for security at the upcoming political conventions even though it is widely known that presidential elections happen every four years.
- Also $602 million for crop disaster assistance and livestock assistance despite the fact that farmers had record incomes last year.
Further, misplaced priorities are rife. For instance, funding for security projects was cut, while money was given to such projects as:
- $20 million increase for the National Endowment of the Arts.
- $3.7 million in non-competitive grants to the AFL-CIO.
- $16 million for a new House office building although the House already has four office buildings and the Capitol Visitors Center has not been completed.
Perhaps most absurd, no one read the bill, says Moore. The text of the omnibus was 3,417 pages (nearly the same length as the second edition of Webster's Dictionary). Yet the House passed the bill less than 22 hours after the text was first made available, while the Senate had 46 hours and 8 minutes for its analysis. For Members of Congress to have read this bill, they would have had to read the bill at a rate of 2 1/2 pages per minute for Representatives and 1 1/4 pages per minute for Senators, without stopping to sleep or eat.
Source: Nicola Moore, "Omnibusted: The Top 10 Worst Problems with the Omnibus Spending Bill," WebMemo 1760, Heritage Foundation, December 21, 2007.
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