The recent furor over the back-room deals and vote-buying in the U.S. Senate during the health-care debate has awakened many to how that institution really operates. Another disturbing tactic used by our senators is to tack pork projects onto bills that need to pass such as the recent 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill. Although President Obama said that he would veto the bill if it was filled with pork, he signed it into law with $4.2 billion in these special projects.
I would like to ask Sen. Byron Dorgan and Sen. Kent Conrad why they support these special deals, especially when they are currently shattering all federal deficit records. I would also like to ask them why in the world the following projects are being funded in the defense bill.
- Five million dollars for a visitors center in San Francisco
- Eighteen million dollars for the Edward Kennedy Policy Institute in Massachusetts
These are just a small sampling of the nearly 2,000 special projects added by Congress to the defense bill. It is obvious that the legislative process in Washington has become much more about self preservation than about good government.
Mike Schatz, New England