Coburn Votes Against Massive Omnibus Spending Bill
Congress puts pet projects ahead of national interest
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement tonight after voting against a massive $555 billion omnibus spending bill.
"This bill is the culmination of 12 months of procrastination, broken promises and misplaced priorities. Experts looking for an explanation of Congress' historic low approval ratings should look no further than this bill. The American people are desperate to see change in Washington. Yet, what we have given them is another last minute spending spree with very little debate, discussion, or inspection," Dr. Coburn said.
"The bill is more than 3,400 pages and I am fairly certain that not a single member of either chamber of Congress, or anyone else for that matter, has read it in its entirety. Sadly, Congress' desire to recess for the year while securing its pork took precedence over our responsibility to properly manage the nation's finances and set national spending priorities," Dr. Coburn said.
"Congress may not want to fund our troops overseas, but we are eager to fund our pork overseas," Dr. Coburn added in reference to a $213,000 earmark for olive fruit fly research in France.
Other questionable earmarks in the bill include:
$113,000 for rodent control in Alaska;
$200,000 for a Hunting and Fishing Museum in Pennsylvania;
$150,000 for a Louis Armstrong Museum in New York;
$700,000 for a bike trail in Minnesota;
$1,000,000 for river walk in Massachusetts;
$200,000 for a post office museum in downtown Las Vegas;
$1,000,000 for an earmark requested by a House member who has been indicted on federal charges of racketeering, money-laundering and soliciting bribes;
"The hundreds of other earmarks that were airdropped into this bill at the last minute made a mockery of the ethics reform legislation Congress passed earlier this year, which explicitly banned that practice. I'm also disappointed members Congress - both Democrats and Republicans - did not cut their number of earmarks in half, a goal supported by many members throughout the year," Dr. Coburn said.
The 11,331 earmarks Congress passed this year represent only a 16 percent decrease from Congress' previous total of 13,492 earmarks in 2005, excluding last year's total when Congress passed a continuing resolution instead of spending bills.