CCAGW Calls Failed Omnibus Vote an Urgent Wake-Up Call

The lobbying arm of the nation’s premier taxpayer watchdog group, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) today congratulated the senators who joined together to stop the fiscal 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act from moving forward. The legislation, H.R. 1106, was pulled from the floor of the Senate last evening just prior to a scheduled vote on final passage.

“Members of Congress are getting an earful from their constituents. CCAGW’s members and supporters alone sent more than 26,000 e-mails to the Senate opposing the omnibus. It is about time that legislators wake up and recognize that the outrageous increases in spending in the omnibus bill will do more harm than good,” said CCAGW President Tom Schatz. “Taken together with the stimulus bill, spending on federal programs will increase by 8 percent over fiscal 2008, and in some cases by as much as 80 percent. It is surreal to talk about reducing the deficit while at the same time moving this bloated bill through Congress.”

Another reason given by other senators for voting against the omnibus bill is the thousands of earmarks that are contained in the measure. While there are several different figures being provided about the number of earmarks and their cost, even a single earmark is one too many during a fiscal crisis of this magnitude. For example, the fiscal 2009 Agriculture Appropriations Act contains $4.5 million for wood utilization research and $2.9 million for shrimp aquaculture research, bringing the totals for those two programs respectively, to $95 million and $71 million since 1985. The shrimp research is being done in seven states, including Arizona, where the most likely outcome is the shrimp will just fry in the sun.

“After 24 years of researching wood utilization and shrimp aquaculture, it is time to stop. This funding was an unnecessary waste even during the best of times. It never had a scintilla of impact on the national well-being of this country and the absence of the funding will consequently have no impact on the welfare of the nation now,” said Schatz. “Several high-ranking officials of the Obama Administration have talked about the earmarks as being ‘leftover’ from last year. In these tough times, there are a lot of people eating leftovers. But Congress keeps gorging itself on pork. Pork, especially leftover pork, gets rancid and should be thrown away.”

CCAGW is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.

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