An anti-government waste group has recognized thousands and thousands of taxpayer allegedly frittered away on “absurd nature-related earmarks,” together with $9 million to “quarantine fruit flies” and $13.eight million to “handle wild horses.”
These revelations are contained in the 2019 Congressional Pig Guide launched Wednesday by Residents In opposition to Authorities Waste. That report identifies what it describes as egregious examples of pork-barrel spending in Congress, drawn from fiscal 2019 appropriations payments. This yr, the group stated it recognized $15.three billion in earmarks, a rise of four.1 p.c from the $14.7 billion final yr.
SCHATZ: 2019 ‘PIG BOOK’ FINDS GOVERNMENT’S PORK ADDICTION GETTING WORSE
“Pushing pork doesn’t drain the swamp and it gained’t restore integrity to Washington,” Tom Schatz, the president of Residents In opposition to Authorities Waste, stated in an announcement.
Schatz wrote in an op-ed for Fox Enterprise Community that “maybe probably the most flagrant earmark” this yr is $16.7 million for a analysis group referred to as the East-West Middle, added by Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii.
“His earmark represents the middle’s whole finances, retaining it alive though its counterpart, the North-South Middle, stopped receiving federal funding in 2001,” the group’s president stated. “The East-West Middle ought to have the ability to stand by itself with out taxpayer assist as properly.”
The report identifies different dear earmarks, together with $65 million to assist get well Pacific Coastal Salmon, $12 million to manage aquatic crops, $7.9 million to buy fish screens and $863,000 to eradicate brown tree snakes in Guam.
The fruit fly program apparently was resumed after a 10-year pause. Additional, in keeping with the report, the $9 million earmarked this yr for this system represents an 1,819 p.c improve over the roughly half-million put aside for “fruit fly analysis, eradication, or quarantine” a decade in the past.
“Additionally it is the third-largest earmark ever for this function,” the report stated.
Schatz stated these examples present that “earmarks nonetheless corrupt Congress, waste taxpayer cash and erode belief in authorities.” The group advocates enacting a everlasting, statutory ban on earmarks.
However the group attributes the latest improve in pork-barrel spending to the 2018 passage of the Bipartisan Price range Act, which obliterated 2011 spending restraints.
The group additionally ripped the seven earmarks totaling $1.eight billion for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, together with eight Air Drive planes, six Navy planes and two for the Marine Corps.
“In growth for practically 18 years and eight years not on time, complete acquisition prices now exceed $428 billion, practically double the preliminary estimate of $233 billion,” the report states. “A 2019 DOD Chosen Acquisition Report famous that the F-35’s lifetime operation and upkeep prices will complete roughly $1.2 trillion, the most costly weapon system in U.S. historical past.”