September 25, 2007

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Okay, this looks pretty damn piggish:

The Senate on Monday overwhelmingly approved a bill authorizing $23 billion in water resource projects, including $3.5 billion in work for hurricane-ravaged Louisiana, despite warnings from some lawmakers and watchdog groups that the bill did not provide crucially needed changes to the Army Corps of Engineers, which would do most of the work. . . .

But opponents, led by Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, made a forceful, if futile, case that the bill would fail to address the most important needs, even in Louisiana, which is the biggest beneficiary of the measure.

“After a decade of government and independent reports calling for reforming the corps and pointing out stunning flaws in corps projects and project studies, and after the tragic failures of New Orleans levees during Hurricane Katrina, the American people deserve meaningful reform,” Mr. Feingold said in a speech on the Senate floor. “How many more flawed projects or wasted dollars will it take before we say enough is enough?”

Especially since Hurricane Katrina, the corps has been criticized as mismanaged and lacking oversight and accountability.

The White House has said that President Bush will veto the bill because it is too expensive and stuffed with political pork. In a letter to Congressional leaders, Rob Portman, the former budget director, and John Paul Woodley Jr., the assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, noted that the Corps of Engineers already had a backlog of $38 billion in projects. They urged Congress to pass a cheaper bill.

Not likely, alas. Plus this: “We are diverting our spending for the high priority projects to the political priority projects.” Indeed.

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