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McCain identifies $2 billion in pork barrel spending

McCain identifies $2 billion in pork barrel spending

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., who has made "pork busting" a key component of his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, late last week said the five-bill omnibus appropriations package contains nearly $2 billion in "pork barrel" spending.

Overall, McCain claimed to have found $14 billion in "garden variety, pork barrel spending" in the 13 fiscal 2000 spending bills. This compares to about $12 billion in so-called pork barrel spending identified in fiscal 1999 by the watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste.

In a floor statement Friday, as the Senate was racing to join the House in adjournment, McCain singled out $1.8 million set aside for buses and bus facilities in Kansas, $250,000 for the New York Hall of Science in Queens, N.Y., and $2.5 million for the Dante Fascell North-South Center as examples of "new earmarks and special interest items" in the omnibus package. McCain's office buttressed his arguments by posting a bill-by-bill breakdown of omnibus package "pork" on his Web site.

The breakdown identified as "pork" nearly $169.1 million in spending for the Commerce Department; $306.4 million for the Justice Department; $75.2 million for the State Department and related agencies; $326 million for Foreign Operations spending, which includes a sense of Congress resolution that a new maritime fund should be capitalized up to $200 million; $356.9 million in the Interior appropriations bill; $480.3 million in the Labor-HHS appropriations bill; $18.5 million in "miscellaneous" transportation spending; and $236.2 million in the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which was tacked on to the omnibus spending bill.

A McCain spokeswoman explained that the senator was not questioning the merits of these projects, but rather the process by which they were added to spending bills.

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