NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Federal Pork Grows

February 20, 2003

The 3,000 page omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last week sets new records for pork, according to Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW). The $791.5 billion bill raises federal spending by 7.8 percent over last year, for a 22 percent increase over the past two years. It will also increase discretionary spending at the second-fastest rate since 1985.

CAGW says the weight of pork in the 30 pound bill may pass the record amount of $20.1 billion set last year.

  • In this bill, lawmakers set aside millions of dollars for projects ranging from the renovation of Carnegie Hall in New York, to the expansion of Big Bear Zoo in San Bernadino, Calif., to the renovation of an airport hangar in Roswell, N.M.
  • They also slipped into the spending package big favors for influential industries -- for example, adding a provision favored by real estate agents to make it more difficult for the banking industry to enter their business, overturning a key reform of the Gramm-Leach- Bliley Act of 1999.

According to Mitch Daniels, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, earmarks have increased six-fold in the last five years, from 6,454 in fiscal year 2001 to 7,803 in 2002.

Source: Alexander Bolton, "3000-page omnibus giving up its secrets," The Hill, February 19, 2003.


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