CCAGW Blasts Congress, Omnibus Package | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

CCAGW Blasts Congress, Omnibus Package

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Mark Carpenter/Tom Finnigan
January 22, 2004(202) 467-5300

 

 (Washington, D.C.)  The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) today blasted Congress for passing H.R. 2673, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, fiscal 2004.  The $820 billion package contains seven of the thirteen appropriations bills to fund domestic programs.  The Senate approved the measure today 65-28, nearly four months after the start of the fiscal year.  

“The Senate has shown its true colors by protecting the status quo rather than protecting taxpayers,” CCAGW President Tom Schatz said.  “Facing a $500 billion deficit, the only civilized course of action would be to freeze funding at 2003 levels with a pork-free continuing resolution.”

Over the last three years, discretionary spending has grown by 31.5 percent.  Federal spending grew on average by 7.6 percent in each of the last two years, more than double the 3.4 percent average annual growth under the Clinton administration.  Since 9/11, less than half of all new spending was related to national defense, according to the Heritage Foundation. 

“With the wild spending increases of recent years affecting nearly every federal program, the government does not need another infusion of money borrowed from our children and grandchildren,” Schatz continued.

On January 14, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) quietly circulated a letter to his fellow Senators, reminding them of the pork projects they could lose if the Omnibus bill were defeated.  Some of those projects include: $50 million for an indoor rain forest in Coralville, Iowa; $18.5 million for the International Fund for Ireland; $725,000 for the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, Pa.; and $500,000 for the Montana Sheep Institute.  

After the House passed the Omnibus on December 8, 2003, fiscal conservatives held out hope that Senate gridlock could force a year-long continuing resolution.  Republican leadership in the Senate tried to pass the bill before the Christmas Holiday recess by unanimous consent, meaning there would not be a recorded vote.  But Senate Appropriations Ranking Member Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.), long known as the “King of Pork,” demanded a roll call vote, effectively delaying Senate action until January 20.  Upon reconvening, Democrats threatened a filibuster over provisions in the bill related to food labeling, media regulations, and overtime rules.  Republicans struggled to get the 60 votes required to end debate, thanks in part to a joint campaign by fiscal conservative organizations –  including CCAGW – to defeat the bill because of its excessive cost.      

“The last remaining hope for taxpayers is for President Bush to veto the bill,” Schatz concluded.  “CCAGW will rate this vote in our 2004 Congressional Ratings.  The pork barrel is overflowing, and taxpayers know who is to blame.”

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, the nation's largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.

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