2007 Pig Book Summary
The 2007 Congressional Pig Book Summary gives a snapshot of each appropriations bill and details 24 of the juiciest projects culled from the complete Pig Book. (.pdf)
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Defense | Homeland Security
According to the Chinese calendar, 2007 is the Year of the Pig. Fortunately for American taxpayers, it will be a smaller pig than usual. The 2007 Congressional Pig Book has not been this little since 1999, as only two of the 11 appropriations bills were enacted by Congress and the remaining nine were subject to a moratorium on earmarks. There are no indoor rainforests, National Peanut Festivals, mariachi music grants, or teapot museums to be found.
This year’s Pig Book breaks a run of seven consecutive years of record dollar amounts of pork, culminating in $29 billion in the 2006 Congressional Pig Book. This lesser barrel of pork can be attributed to the efforts of Senators Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who prevented the enactment of nine appropriations bills in December, 2006, and the subsequent moratorium on earmarks announced and enforced by the House and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairmen David Obey (D-Wis.) and Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) in H. J. Res. 20, the bill that funds the government for the remainder of fiscal 2007.
There is still enough pork to cause concern for taxpayers, as 2,658 projects were stuffed into the Defense and Homeland Security Appropriations Acts, at a cost of $13.2 billion. Pork identified in the Pig Book since 1991 totals $252 billion. Defense had 2,618 projects, or 204 less than in 2006, at a cost of $10.8 billion, or 28 percent less than the $14.9 billion in 2006. For homeland security, the totals were $2.4 billion, or 10 percent less than the $2.7 billion in 2006, and 40 projects, or five more than in 2006.
While only two bills were enacted, the states of Alaska and Hawaii, which have been the top two states in pork per capita every year but one since 2000, were served more then their fair share of bacon by Senators Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii). In the defense appropriations bill alone, Alaska received $209,900,000, a 127 percent increase over the total of $92,425,000 in 2006.
Based on historical figures, the enactment of H. J. Res. 20 eliminated more than 7,000 earmarks and saved between $12-$15 billion in pork-barrel spending. Unfortunately, in this Year of the Pig, taxpayers are not getting a pork dividend. Instead, Congress took the savings and spent it on other programs.
Despite the moratorium on earmarks, the siren’s song of pork is too tempting for some members of Congress, who have called federal agencies to pressure them to divert money to pet projects that were included in committee reports. The Bush Administration told agencies to ignore such oral communications.
While taxpayers should celebrate a reduction in the number and cost of pork-barrel projects, there is still much work that needs to be done to ensure that members of Congress do not return to their piggish ways in the future.
The 24 projects, totaling $2.4 billion, in this year’s Congressional Pig Book Summary symbolize the most egregious and blatant examples of pork. As in previous years, all of the items in the
Congressional Pig Book Summary meet at least one of CAGW’s seven criteria, but most satisfy at least two:
Requested by only one chamber of Congress;
Not specifically authorized;
Not competitively awarded;
Not requested by the President;
Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;
Not the subject of congressional hearings; or
Serves only a local or special interest.
Efficient and effective operation of the Department of Defense (DOD) is critical to ensuring the security of our nation and the safety of our troops. While American military forces fight for peace and democracy in the Middle East, Pentagon officials struggle to create a lean, mean, war-fighting machine; the good news is that appropriators are winning fewer battles over defense priorities. From fiscal 2006 to fiscal 2007, the number of porkbarrel projects decreased by 7 percent from 2,822 to 2,618, while the total cost went down 28 percent, from $14.9 billion to $10.8 billion.
$1,190,000,000 for full funding of 20 F-22A fighter jets; this barrel of pork is so big that Congress will not even spend it all in one year. The bill funds 20 F-22s per year until 2009. The F-22 was originally designed as an air superiority fighter for use against the Soviet Air Force. Before Congress put the ink on the check, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) sent a 13-page letter on June 20, 2006 to then-House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman C.W. (Bill) Young urging Congress to stop funding this program due to its high cost and the fact that the aircraft is out of date. The GAO said, “DOD has not demonstrated the need or value for making further investments in the F-22A program.” The GAO also noted that the F-22s “are not sufficient to be effective in the current and future national security environment.” There are 22 test F-35 aircrafts that are more modern, effective, and cheaper. In 2003, Popular Science reported the F-22 had a price tag of $120 million each while the F-35 cost $35 million. In June 2006, the GAO report raised the F-22’s numbers, concluding that the multi-year contract would drive per-plane costs up to $183 million from $166 million. The F-35 made its maiden flight in December 2006. Apparently, the F-22 will be stopped only when pigs can fly.
$319,655,000 for projects in the state of then-Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), including: $20,000,000 for the Army Compatible Use Buffer Program (ACUB); $11,500,000 to fund Pan-STARRS to develop a large aperture telescope with the University of Hawaii to prevent space objects from colliding with Earth; $5,600,000 for the Center of Excellence for Research in Ocean Sciences, $4,500,000 for chitosan bandage component which utilizes natural compounds found in shrimp heads; and $1,000,000 for a wave power electric generating system. The ACUB works on “conservation planning at the ecosystem level to ensure that greater benefits are realized towards species and habitat recovery.” The Army’s objectives with this program include: “Reduce training restrictions, meet Endangered Species Act recovery responsibilities, prevent development along installation boundaries, and prevent future threatened and endangered species listings.” Thanks to programs like ACUB, the ecosystem for oinkers is thriving in Hawaii.
$209,900,000 added for projects in the state of then-Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), an increase of 127 percent over the $92,425,000 for Alaska in the fiscal 2006 defense bill, including: $59,100,000 for upgrades to the Pacific Alaskan Range Complex in Red Flag; $4,000,000 for the Northern Line Extension, and $3,200,000 for HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program), which has received $109.1 million in pork since 1995. The Northern Line Extension will provide a direct route from North Pole (pop. 1,778 in 2005) to Delta Junction (pop. 840 in 2000), which is a whopping 82.1 mile drive on one highway between the two villages according to MapQuest. The Alaska Railroad Corporation said, “The proposed rail line would provide freight and potentially passenger rail services serving commercial interests and communities in or near the project corridor.”