Congressman Pitts Condemns Pork Spending Contained in Iraq Bill
Congressman Joe Pitts (R, PA-16) expressed outrage today at House Democrats' attempts to load a controversial war funding bill with billions of dollars in pork-barrel spending in order to get the votes necessary to pass it. With many House Members withholding support for the bill due to language it contains setting an arbitrary date for withdrawal from Iraq, Democrat leaders have added more than $20 billion of non-emergency spending in an effort to win the votes necessary for passage. Congressman Pitts' statement follows:
"This bill is intended to meet the urgent needs of our troops serving in harm's way. Instead, the Democrats are using it to pander to their left-wing base by cutting off all funding for the troops next year whether we have achieved victory or not. If that wasn't bad enough, they're now trying to pressure reluctant members into voting for this by tacking on billions of dollars in pork barrel projects. The money they want to spend on spinach subsidies and peanut storage would be better spent on body armor and Humvees. This bill fails both our troops serving overseas and the taxpayer here at home."
Democrat leaders have added more than $20 billion of non-emergency, non-military spending to the war supplemental. Some examples include:
· Spinach: Provides $25 million for payments to spinach producers that were unable to market spinach crops as a result of the FDA Public Health Advisory issued on September 14, 2006.
· Shrimp: Provides $120 million to the shrimp industry for expenses related to the consequences of Hurricane Katrina.
· Peanut Storage Subsidies: Provides $74 million to extend peanut storage payments through 2007. The Peanut Subsidy Storage program, which is set to expire this year, pays farmers for the storage, handling, and other costs for peanuts voluntarily placed in the marketing loan program.
· Aquaculture Operations: Provides $5 million for payments to "aquaculture operations and other persons in the U.S. engaged in the business of breeding, rearing, or transporting live fish" (such as shellfish, oysters and clams) to cover economic losses incurred as a result of an emergency order issued by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on October 24, 2006.
· NASA: Provides $35 million to NASA, under the "exploration capabilities" account, for "expenses related to the consequences of Hurricane Katrina."
· HUD Indian Housing: Provides $80 million in tenant-based rental assistance for public and Indian housing under HUD.