June 28, 1990 |
If you needed proof that temptation was stronger than the resistance of even the strongest mortals, the House Appropriations Committee delivered it Tuesday. There, members approved about $200 million for home-state projects over and above President Bush's requests, including $479,000 for Lebanon, Pa., in connection with an urban-renewal project. Ordinarily, that would not have raised an eyebrow, considering the huge sums Congress dispenses in pork-barrel projects. But the money was requested by Rep. Robert S. Walker (R., Pa.)
June 10, 1986 |
Recently I attended a community meeting at the Tustin Recreation Center in my district. Upon arrival at the Center, I was told that the lights at the basketball court were out, which rendered the court useless at night. The gymnasium where the meeting was held had no air conditioning, which made the meeting physically uncomfortable. I mention these things to underscore the need that exists in providing funds to maintain and keep functioning recreation centers which are literally the hub of many of our communities.
February 4, 1990 |
One morning last fall, Rep. Jamie Whitten, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, complained to a colleague that tight budgets had made it "very hard to help out my friends. " As he rode the subway from a House office building to the Capitol, the Mississippi Democrat lamented his inability to satisfy all the requests from his fellow lawmakers for special projects in their districts. The pork barrel, he explained, was running low. As it turned out, however, Whitten and his allies managed to stuff more than $1 billion worth of bring-home-the-bacon projects - from $200,000 for cotton-gin research in Michigan to $13 million for a technology center in Pennsylvania - into the 1990 budget.
October 31, 1989
To hell with public accountability or peer review groups - the city's politicians have decided to get back into the muck of their own private Class 500 pork barrel. Of course, no one really knows exactly what Councilmen Joseph Coleman and John Street are doing around the pork trough with Finance Director Betsy Reveal, Commerce Director Gerri Walker and Deputy Mayor Ernest Barefield. It's all hush-hush, let's keep our decisions secret until we've decided what we'll do with this grab-bag of $5 million.
April 19, 1996
Guess who won the showdown this week on Capitol Hill between spending and deficit-cutting? Hint: Most of the freshman Republicans in the House - who arrived last year growling like fiscal watchdogs, but are acting more like insiders as the election draws near - lined up with that kingpin of the congressional pork barrel, Rep. Bud Shuster (R., Pa.). It wasn't even close. By a overwhelming margin, the House voted to remove transportation spending from the fiscal discipline that's applied to almost all other federal programs.
January 10, 2010
Congressional Democrats have made modest progress in their efforts to limit pork-barrel spending projects known as "earmarks. " And then there's Rep. John Murtha (D., Pa.). Murtha is chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, a post in which he has earned the title as Pennsylvania's "King of Pork. " In last month's defense bill alone, Murtha led all House lawmakers by sponsoring 23 earmarks worth $76.5 million. In a career spanning nearly 40 years, Murtha has directed billions back to his Johnstown-area district.
November 11, 1992 |
Without public debate, Congress has told the Pentagon to spend $15 million for plans on what would be the world's largest ship - a passenger liner to be developed by European interests. Members of Congress promoted the deal as a way to revive struggling U.S. shipyards, including the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, while providing what could become a valuable troop ship in time of war. But critics, including some Pentagon officials, view it as a floating pork barrel and dispute its military value.
April 30, 1992 |
President Bush longs for the line-item veto to reduce frivolous federal spending. The stuff known as pork. On this issue, Democrat Bill Clinton, the governor of Arkansas, backs Republican Bush, whose job Clinton covets. Clinton spoke in support of the line-item veto last week at the Wharton School. But take it from James Bryce - the line-item presidential veto is not going to happen. At least probably not in this century. Bryce, the English statesman, political scientist and author of The American Commonwealth, observed pork-barrel politics, U.S. style, in another century - the 19th - when another president, Grover Cleveland, sought the line-item veto.
December 24, 1995 |
In jargon-ridden Washington, perhaps no shorthand is more clearly understood than pork. But where did the term come from? In its basic form, pork is funding for local or pet projects taken from the national or state treasuries. The origin of the term is somewhat cloudy. One theory, according to The Congress Dictionary, is that since pork was the cheapest of meats, the pork barrel was deemed an inexpensive way to satisfy constituents. Another theory holds that pork is associated with fat - and thus describes unneeded expenses.
December 26, 2007
Congress figured a way out of its partisan budget impasse by embracing the one thing all lawmakers can agree on - pork. The new, $555 billion mish-mash of a federal spending bill completed in Washington last week contains tens of billions in pork-barrel projects. It shows that Democratic leaders had very limited success with their pledge to get tough on such spending. When Democrats took control of Congress last January, they promised to wage an all-out war on "earmarks. " That's the name for spending items inserted into bills to benefit specific companies or projects, usually in the districts of the lawmakers who sponsored them.