What Drives Taxpayers Crazy: Pork in Bills

Jan 6, 2013 by

donna_garnerOur nation that is already $16 Trillion in debt does not need to take a chance on wasting our dollars on projects that have nothing to do with Superstorm Sandy

by Donna Garner

1.5.13

This is exactly what makes American taxpayers furious with Congress:  the practice of stuffing Congressional bills with pork!

Because America has a big heart and we hurt when other Americans hurt, we all want to give to the Hurricane Sandy victims. We want our taxes to go to help deserving people, particularly those who have lost everything in such a dreadful catastrophe.

Probably most of the Congressmen feel a sense of responsibility to help needy Hurricane Sandy victims.  However, what actually happens in Congress?  Instead of making sure the Hurricane Sandy relief bill will send money and resources immediately to those in need, the authors of the $60 Billion Senate bill loaded it down with slews of pork; and much of the money will not even be spent until 2013.  Less than $23 Billion is for actual damages from Hurricane Sandy.

Sandy relief victims need help right now.  Our nation that is already $16 Trillion in debt does not need to take a chance on wasting our dollars on projects that have nothing to do with Superstorm Sandy nor with disaster and emergency spending such as these contained in the bill:

$4 Million – repair job at Kennedy Space Center in Florida

$150 Million – fishery disasters in states such as Alaska and Mississippi

$821 Million – dredging projects all over the country – not just in those affected by Sandy

As the “first installment” in the huge $60 Billion bill, the Senate sent the House the $9.7 Billion part of the bill which would allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to pay out claims during the next nine months with another $12 Billion to be doled out the following year.  This $9.7 Billion part of the $60 Billion bill was approved in the House on 12.4.13 by a margin of 354 to 67 votes.

Our Congressman Bill Flores was one of 67 House members who voted against the $9.7 Billion bill.  He is not a “hard-hearted, mean-spirited conservative.”   Flores voted against the bill because it contained no offsetting spending cuts, and he is desperately worried about our country’s out-of-control spending.  He does not want to give FEMA an unlimited credit card by allowing them to borrow almost $10 Billion for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) rather than requiring FEMA/NFIP to implement any real insurance program reforms.  The NFIP has already required repeated bailouts because of poor management.

In 2011 the fiscally responsible House members passed much-needed FEMA insurance reform, but the Senate chose to block the bill.  Congressman Flores believes that FEMA has enough money to fund the Sandy-related claims for a few weeks to allow Congress to get serious about considering insurance reform. Then people’s claims could be settled in a fair and equitable manner so that taxpayers’ funds would not be poured down a bottomless hole of scams and false claims.

Let’s consider some of the corruption that occurred during Hurricane Katrina as stated by The Heritage Foundation:

Fraud related to Hurricane Katrina spending is estimated to top $2 billion. In addition, debit cards provided to hurricane victims were used to pay for Caribbean vacations, NFL tickets, Dom Perignon champagne, ‘Girls Gone Wild’ videos, and at least one sex change operation.

A vote in the House on the rest of the $51 Billion Superstorm Sandy bill is set for January 15.

Let’s let our Congressmen know:

(1) We expect them to cut $60 Billion from other budget items before passing a $60 Billion Hurricane Sandy Relief bill.

(2)  We want the “pork” projects removed from the bill so that each and every expenditure in the bill is spent directly on the Superstorm Sandy victims as soon as possible.

(3) We want the insurance program reforms already passed by the House in 2011 to be implemented across the government relief agencies.

Donna Garner

Wgarner1@hot.rr.com

 

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