House Fails to Strike Pork-Barrel Earmarks from Intelligence Authorization Bill
Ryan Votes against Bill, Calls for Prioritizing Human Intelligence over Earmarks
First District Congressman Paul Ryan today voted against the House-Senate brokered version (conference report) of a bill that includes pork-barrel earmarks at the expense of additional funding to bolster human intelligence resources. The House of Representatives passed the conference report to H.R. 2082, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, by a vote of 222-199, despite the fact that it ignored a strong bipartisan vote the House cast nine days ago to strip earmarks from the legislation.
On December 4, 62 Democrats voted with House Republicans to instruct House conferees on the intelligence bill to strike all earmarks and insist on provisions authorizing the maximum level of funding permissible for human intelligence collection activities. This would have included striking a controversial earmark requested by Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha for the National Drug Intelligence Center in his district. However, this common-sense directive on earmarks was ignored and the final version of the legislation brought to the House floor today kept the earmarks intact. Given another opportunity to remove earmarks from the bill and redirect those funds to human intelligence, through a vote today on a motion to recommit the conference report, 51 Democrats changed their votes - rejecting this proposal that mirrors the one they voted for last week.
"It's clear that we need to strengthen our nation's intelligence capabilities so we have access to reliable, timely information to protect Americans at home and overseas," Ryan said. "Improving our human intelligence resources should be the priority - not delivering pork-barrel earmarks or growing the bureaucracy in Washington. Unfortunately, this legislation gets it wrong."
Among its problems, the Intelligence Authorization Conference Report:
* Fails to provide adequate resources for human intelligence collection. America's human intelligence collection remains inadequate - as demonstrated just last week by the startling reversal by the intelligence community of its past "high confidence" analysis on Iran. This legislation fails to provide adequate resources for the necessary expansion of human intelligence collection - while continuing to fund earmarks.
* Fails to remove earmarks. Contrary to the bipartisan instructions of the House, which passed a motion on December 4 directing conferees to strike all taxpayer-funded earmarks in the Intelligence Authorization Act, this legislation includes a list of 26 congressional earmarks totaling approximately $96 million - defying the principle that our intelligence funding should be based on its national security merits, not special interests.
* Fails to provide for long-term authority to streamline surveillance of foreign terrorist targets in foreign countries to detect and prevent potential attacks.
* Omits bipartisan House language to constrain the rapidly growing bureaucracy within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
* Directs precious intelligence resources to conduct a formal intelligence assessment of the "national security" aspects of global warming.