Obama Signs Pork Bill, Defends ‘Pet Projects’

Barack Obama, sounding weary of criticism over federal earmarks, defended Congress’ pet projects Wednesday as he signed an “imperfect” $410 billion measure with thousands of examples. But he said the spending does need tighter restraint and listed guidelines to do it. Obama, accused of hypocrisy by Republicans for embracing billions of dollars of earmarks in the legislation, said they can be useful and noted that he has promised to curb, not eliminate them.

On another potentially controversial matter, the president also issued a “signing statement” with the bill, saying several of its provisions raised constitutional concerns and would be taken merely as suggestions. He has criticized President George W. Bush for often using such statements to claim the right to ignore portions of new laws, and on Monday he said his administration wouldn’t follow those issued by Bush unless authorized by the new attorney general.

White House officials have accused Bush of using the statements to get around Congress in pursuing anti-terror tactics.

Yeah that’s right, Obama. Why spend money on anti-terror tactics when supporting your Hamas friends in Gaza with $900 million of American tax money is more important?

Obama signed the bill in private, unlike a number of recent signings that took place with fanfare, but he raised the issue of earmarks in public remarks playing down their scope and possible harm in the measure. They comprise about 1 percent of the spending package, which will keep the government running through September, he told reporters.

“Done right, earmarks have given legislators the opportunity to direct federal money to worthy projects that benefit people in their districts. And that’s why I’ve opposed their outright elimination,” he said.


Bullshit. How can billions in wasteful “projects” like the following be construed as “worthy projects that help people in their districts?:

$3.5 million for La Raza, a radical hate group which advocates a takeover of parts of the U.S. Southwest by Mexico.

$3.74 million for research into the Formosan Subterranean Termite, requested by Reps. Rodney Alexander and Richard Baker of Louisiana;

$150,000 for rodent control on the Aleutian Islands, requested by Ted Stevens of Alaska;

$250,000 to build the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center in Washington, requested by Rep. Doc Hastings.

$470,000 to study the Asian Long-Horned Beetle, requested by Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois;

$244,077 for bee research in Weslaco, Texas, requested by Rep. Chet Edwards;

$213,386 to study the Oliver Fruit Fly in Montpelier, France, requested by Mike Thompson of California;

$1.7 million for the Centers for Disease Control to fund a Hollywood liaison to advise doctor dramas

Link: http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=58239

Congratulations, Obamabots.  Enjoy ‘spreading the wealth’.

4 thoughts on “Obama Signs Pork Bill, Defends ‘Pet Projects’”

  1. Insects carried the plague. Blights and infestations can wipe out entire vast sections of agriculture. This hurts our place in the world as a trader and ultimately our national security.

    1. arparp,

      Agricultural science has made great strides over the last 100 years. Most crops are pretty sturdy, and I’ve seen no shortage of my favorite produce at the grocery store. My point is that infrastructure should always be the top priority of taxpayer funds; not pet projects dreamed up by politicians to impress their constituents. BILLIONS of our dollars are wasted each year on the type of earmarks listed in the budget.

      SFC MAC

  2. I’m having a hard time finding the version of these earmarks in actual spending plans for FY 2008. Regardless, I’ve taken the time to look these up and post comments:

    – La Raza is a non-specific term, the organization in question here is National Council of La Raza, not the political party or the Catholic group. NCLR is, at least outwardly, not seperatist, does not espouse the ‘motto’ attributed to it by commentators and is a genuine non-profit. However, I can certainly respect the viewpoint that non-profit service organizations don’t deserve federal money.
    – The Formosan termite causes $300 million dollars worth of damage a year to New Orleans, and it causes significant damage in Hawaii. Not controlling this threat will likely result in other states on the gulf receiving epidemic infestations.
    – Alaska’s island ecology has changed significantly as a result of foreign rat infestation. While you may not consider restoring bird populations or any kind of ecological balance initiative to be worthwhile, it’s definitely not trivial.
    – The wine center is definitely a great idea for Washington State, but I don’t see why they need federal funds. If you believe that the federal government should never invest in museums or libraries meant to serve a state, then this certainly is something to scorn.
    – The honeybee’s Colony Collapse Disorder is a serious and still mysterious problem that could affect agriculture very significantly. While I’d rather a large agribusiness pay for this out of self-interest, it’s a very important issue and one that could have serious negative consequences on the country’s stability and economy.
    – Long horned beetles represent a huge threat against trees in agricultural and urban areas. The federal government is working hard to attempt to eradicate them before they become an irreversible epidemic. Trees are an important natural resource, and protecting them has a direct benefit to the country at large.
    – Fruit fly research advances understandings of autism and other special needs conditions. The fruit fly genome was the first to be decoded. This isn’t wasteful pork, it’s on the level of eliminating polio.
    – The doctor drama information is an attempt at public education. While I agree it sounds pretty silly, it’s interesting to note that $1.7 mill was given to this program in 2007 under the watch of the Republican Congress and President.

    While I understand that part of the debate is not whether the projects are worthwhile or not, but whether the federal government should even be involved in national programs, I think the point of listing the projects on the blog was an attempt to deride them all as 100% frivolous.

    1. arparp,

      I agree to a point. First, I think every single earmark should be published for public accountablity. Secondly, you can see that there isn’t much in the bill that focuses on valid infrastructure. Maintenence of highways, utilities, bridges, hospitals, veteran’s care, national security, the miltary, the things that really matter and are best served with our taxes.

      Instead we see crap like the sex life of insects and wineries. Much can be said for private funding and philanthropy. If some rich person wants to fund a study or a project like those, then by all means do it.

      The problem is that every one of those things you mentioned has someone behind it who thinks it’s worth the millions being allocated.

      Not necessarily so. La Raza for instance, is a radical, “reconquista”, pro-illegal alien group that not only breaks the law, but receives government subsidies. There’s something wrong with that picture.

      SFC MAC

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