Thursday, November 08, 2007

Congresswoman Schmidt votes for Pork-filled Water Resources Development Act and helps to override veto

So much for Ohio's 2nd District ' fiscal conservative' (NOT!).

Congresswoman Schmidt was one of 361 votes cast to override President Bush's veto of the pork-filled Water Resources Development Act.
Ever hear the one about the bill that went into conference, then got so fat that it couldn’t fit back out the door?

That’s what has happened to Congress’s Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007. The Senate passed a $14 billion version of this spending bill in May, which funds federal water projects, and sent it to conference with the House. The same bill emerged from conference last week, and passed the Senate overwhelmingly yesterday, as a $23 billion spending bill. That’s a 64-percent increase in just four months — sounds like a wildly successful hedge fund’s return, not the growth of a bill that authorizes spending for the federal government.

Where did all the extra money come from? Much of it is earmarks. But some of it — between $1 billion and $2 billion — comes from new “earmarks” that were not voted on in the original House or Senate versions of the bill. These were added quietly in conference committee, when the two houses negotiated the final bill they would both pass. There were at least 20 such earmarks added in conference to WRDA, which authorizes spending on projects for the Army Corps of Engineers. Because they were added in conference, neither the House nor the Senate has any chance to debate or amend them...



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