FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Health Care Bill Fact of the Day: Billions in Pork Barrel Spending for ‘Community Transformation’ and ‘Beautification’
Under the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee’s “Affordable Health Choices Act,” local governments can apply for “community transformation” grants to build jungle gyms, sidewalks, bicycle paths, and grocery stores, to install streetlights, and to establish new farmers’ markets.
The dollar amount of these grants, and of the total “community transformation” earmark program, is left to the discretion of the Obama administration.
Cities can also apply for “community makeover” grants, which can provide them with up to $10 per resident in taxpayer dollars for “beautifying streets.”
Sen. Tom Coburn, MD (R-OK) sponsored an amendment to the HELP Committee bill that would have prevented any funds it made available from being used “to build, develop, or maintain sidewalks, parks, bike paths, or street lights.” The amendment was defeated by party-line vote.
The “Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009,” the House of Representatives’ health overhaul legislation, also contains an earmark for these grants. The House bill sets the amount available for their funding at $1.6 billion.