When Michael Crichton wrote the novel Eaters of The Dead I doubt he had the current US Senate in mind. He could have, and it wouldn’t have required him to alter the title. The sickening opportunism these elected public servants displayed when presented with the opportunity to pass an emergency relief bill for Hurricane Sandy was an exercise in calculated and cynical ghoulishness. Jon Fleischman of FlashReport.com lays out some odious examples of the pork contained in the US Senate Hurricane Sandy relief bill.
$8 million to buy cars and equipment for the Homeland Security and Justice departments.
• $150 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to dole out to fisheries in Alaska
• $2 million for the Smithsonian Institution to repair museum roofs in DC.
• $207 million for the VA Manhattan Medical Center
• $3.3 million for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center
• $1.1 million to repair national cemeteries
• $58.8 million for forest restoration on private land.
• $10.78 billion for public transportation, most of which is allocated to future construction and improvements, not disaster relief.
• $17 billion for wasteful Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), a program that has become notorious for its use as a backdoor earmark program.
• $197 million “to… protect coastal ecosystems and habitat impacted by Hurricane Sandy.”
• $41 million to fix up eight military bases, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
• $4 million for repairs at Kennedy Space Center in Florida (because Florida is so close to New Jersey, right?)
So the frequently-abused “Weeper of The House” John Boehner recoiled from this measure with condign disgust and delayed a vote until the House can bring up a less porcine version that directs it’s moneys towards people in the Northeast who happened to have actually gotten rained on last fall when the storm hit. What did Speaker Boehner get in return for standing up against the detestable perversion of loading the Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill with political pork? Show him what he wins, Dom Pardo.
…Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who complained that the GOP stuck a “knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyites.”
Luckily, not every Republican jumped on the opportunity to punish John Boehner for showing courage and professionalism in the face of a Senate attempt to blatantly steal about $30Bn in pork for their pet projects thousands of miles away from Hurricane Sandy victims. Darrel Issa responded to the strum und drang as follows.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Ca.) observed:“They had the opportunity to have a $27-to $30-billion legit relief package, packed it with pork, then dared us not to vote on it.”
Yet here’s the problem: there is no reward for sticking up for what is right on these issues. People scream atop their lungs that Boehner just folds on spending. Boehner stands up like he should against the Hurricane Sandy waste-a-thon. John Boehner gets accused by other Republicans of having knifed New York and New Jersey in the back.
It just sort of leaves me scratching my head and wondering how we got this big, nasty budget deficit. Part of that answer is easy. Whenever disaster strikes, we now have Congress that stands ready. It stands ready with a bag full of sleazy appropriations to rape a tragic situation for every dollar that it is worth.