Tags: Republican | 'Porkers' | Urged | Stop | Spending

Republican 'Porkers' Urged to Stop Spending

Tuesday, 27 September 2005 12:00 AM

"The pork has exploded," Chris Edwards, director of tax policy for the Cato Institute declared, pointing the finger at Republicans and Democrats in government for the increase in pet projects using American taxpayer money..

The Cato Institute is one of several groups complaining about the level of government spending in the midst of the war in Iraq and the plans to rebuild the sections of the U.S. Gulf Coast devastated from recent hurricanes.

Edwards was joined at a recent Capitol Hill news conference by a colleague, Steven Slivinski, Cato's director of budget studies, who sounded off on the Republican leader in the U.S. House.

"Tom DeLay says there is no fat left to cut in the budget. That is completely bogus," Slivinski charged. "An inability to control pork is symptomatic of a much larger problem, the inability to control government spending overall," he added.

Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, also lays much of the blame at the doorstep of the GOP. "After years of decrying the practice from the outside, the Republican Party has had a taste of pork, and they liked it," Ellis said.

Citizens Against Government Waste states that pork barrel spending has increased from $10 billion in 1995 to $27.3 billion this year, much of it by Republicans, and most recently, in the transportation bill.

Republicans have now controlled the House for more than a decade and taxpayer watchdog groups believe the political parties have changed their views on government spending.

Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, said the House Democratic leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been at the forefront of cutting pork barrel spending, giving back $70 million from the highway bill to help with hurricane relief efforts.

"Eleven years ago we never expected this would be the case. Many people now long for a divided government because that may be what it takes to get more responsibility," said Schatz.

But Pelosi is not alone in her attempts to rein in government spending. A group of House conservatives announced "Operation Offset" last week, a proposal to cut budget items in order to offset the costs of rebuilding the Gulf Coast. U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, (R-Iowa) also proposed a temporary spending freeze.

With pork barrel spending bringing money to their communities, Schatz said other lawmakers would not be lining up to cut spending. "Congress won't do this on their own," Schatz told Cybercast News Service. "Change is going to come from the local constituents.

According to a Pew Research Center poll conducted on Sept. 15, 44 percent of Americans said Democrats would do a better job of handling the economy, while 38 percent said Republicans would be superior.

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"The pork has exploded," Chris Edwards, director of tax policy for the Cato Institute declared, pointing the finger at Republicans and Democrats in government for the increase in pet projects using American taxpayer money.. The Cato Institute is one of several groups...
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2005-00-27
Tuesday, 27 September 2005 12:00 AM
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