Dr. Coburn Votes Against Pork-Laden Energy and Water Appropriations Conference Report
Report language 55 percent earmarks; expands funding for Alaska bridge
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today voted against the Energy and Water Appropriations Conference Report. The bill passed by a vote of 84 to 4.
"It is unconscionable that in a time of war, disaster recovery and rising budget deficits Congress continues to indulge in pork-barrel spending. The American people are expecting us to make tough decisions about priorities, not to expand funding for projects of questionable merit while forcing the next generation to pay the bill. No one in America believes the Knik Bridge Crossing in Alaska is under-funded, yet Congress tonight chose to appropriate an additional half a million dollars for that effort. Few Americans also believe that now is the appropriate time to celebrate the work of the Army Corps of Engineers with a $15 million museum," Dr. Coburn said.
Of the 199 pages contained in the final Energy and Water Appropriations Bill conference report, 109 pages (55 percent) are earmarks and pork projects. The bill also spends nearly $1.3 billion more than was requested by President Bush.
Some examples of egregious earmarks include:
* $500,000 for an Army Corps of Engineers investigation/study of the Knik Bridge Crossing in Alaska ($229 million was already earmarked for this project in the transportation bill)
* $500,000 for the Burpee Museum of Natural History in Illinois
* $150,000 for the Teddy Roosevelt Environmental Education Center in Mississippi
* An increase of $13 million (from $2 million to $15 million) in the authorization level for the Lower Mississippi River Museum (one of the statutory purposes of this museum is "to highlight local Corps of Engineers projects and management strategies")