Watchdog exposes $14.7B of pork-barrel spending, including ‘brown tree snake eradication’ project


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The federal authorities is spending tens of millions to save lots of Pacific Coast salmon. And it’s doling out greater than $600,000 to kill brown tree snakes in Guam.

A watchdog group, Residents In opposition to Authorities Waste, on Wednesday launched its annual Congressional Pig E-book of what it considers essentially the most egregious examples of pork-barrel spending in Congress, drawn this time from fiscal yr 2018 appropriations payments.

Based on the group, earmarks in 2018 totaled $14.7 billion, a rise of 116.2 p.c from $6.eight billion in 2017.

Among the many most blatant examples of pork flagged by the group:

— $65 million for “Pacific coastal salmon restoration.” Based on its web site, the Pacific Coastal Salmon Restoration Fund “was established by Congress in 2000 to reverse the declines of Pacific salmon and steelhead, supporting conservation efforts in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska.”

$11 million for an “aquatic plant management program.” The group stated that since 1994, there have been 24 earmarks value $58.1 million for aquatic plant management initiatives.

— $663,000 for a “brown tree snake eradication program.” Based on Residents In opposition to Authorities Waste, the snakes are “native to northern Australia, Indonesia and plenty of islands in Melanesia, and have brought about harm to the ecosystem of Guam, the place they had been seemingly launched by the U.S. navy following World Battle II.”

— $10 million for “high-energy price grants” inside the Rural Utilities Service.

– $2.eight million for the Nationwide Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs grant program, which funds arts and cultural establishments in Washington, D.C.

Plenty of Republican lawmakers attended Wednesday’s press convention on the listing, together with Sens. Jeff Flake, Ted Cruz and Joni Ernst, of Arizona, Texas and Iowa, respectively.

To be thought of for itemizing within the group’s annual ebook, an earmark should meet at the least one criterion, together with whether or not it was requested by just one chamber of Congress; if it was not particularly approved; if it was not competitively awarded; if it was not requested by the president; if it tremendously exceeds the president’s finances request or the earlier yr’s funding; if it was not the topic of congressional hearings; or if it serves solely a neighborhood or particular curiosity.

Alex Pappas is a politics reporter at Comply with him on Twitter at @AlexPappas.

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