Take a look at this from today:
What would a disaster-relief bill submitted just days before Christmas be without a good ol‘-fashioned Washington tree trimming? Indeed, President Obama‘s $60.4 billion bauble-laden Tannenbaum for Hurricane Sandy relief truly decks taxpayers‘ halls.And they go on to list some of the "pork":
Fiscal watchdogs are calling it “Sandy Scam” for valid reasons. Billions of dollars are slated for areas and special interests that have nothing to do with damages from Sandy, according to The New York Post and The Washington Times.
- $13 billion for “mitigation projects” to prepare for future storms.
- $150 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for fisheries in Alaska.
- $8 million to buy cars and equipment for the Justice and Homeland Security departments.
President Obama’s $60.4 billion request for Hurricane Sandy relief has morphed into a huge Christmas stocking of goodies for federal agencies and even the state of Alaska, The Post has learned.Interesting that they'd favor the Post piece, being that it quotes a fellow who's from a by now familiar think tank:
The pork-barrel feast includes more than $8 million to buy cars and equipment for the Homeland Security and Justice departments. It also includes a whopping $150 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to dole out to fisheries in Alaska and $2 million for the Smithsonian Institution to repair museum roofs in DC.
Matt Mayer of the conservative Heritage Foundation slammed the request as an “enormous Christmas gift worth of stuff.”We all know the drill: Scaife - Heritage money, blah blah blah.
“The funding here should be focused on helping the community and the people, not replacing federal assets or federal items,” he said.
Take a close look at what the braintrust wrote. Doesn't it look as if all that stuff is unrelated to Hurricane Sandy? They even call them "baubles."
Now let's take a look at the proposed Senate bill. Here's what it says about the money to go to the Federal Bureau of Investigation:
For an additional amount for ‘‘Federal Bureau of Investigation, Salaries and Expenses’’ for necessary expenses related to the consequences of Hurricane Sandy, $4,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2013: Provided, That such amount is designated by the Congress as being for an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A)(i) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985. [Emphasis added.]It's money to replace the stuff destroyed by the Hurricane. Not an extra.
And I am not sure it's at all a bad idea to pour some money into preventing damage in the future.
But let's look at what's really boiling the blood of the true blue conservatives in Amurika: the $150 million going to Alaska (that "fiercely independent" red state where Sarah Palin is from!), shall we?
This press release from the Senate Appropriations Committee states:
$150 million for fishery disasters declared by the Secretary of Commerce in 2012.A little searching leads us to this determination by the Secretary of the Commerce. W-a-a-a-a-y down the bottom of the page, we see a link titled "Department of Commerce Determination for Alaska." Click it and you'll find the Secretary's letter to the Republican Governor of Alaska, Sean Parnell. The first two paragraphs of the letter read:
Thank you for your letters from July 14 and August 16 requesting a determination of a commercial fishery failure due to a fisheries resource disaster under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 (MSA) for certain Alaska Chinook salmon fisheries.Huh. You'd never have guessed from the Trib's editorial that the pork from the Obama Administrationwas actually requested by The State of Alaska, would you?
After reviewing the information provided by the State of Alaska, I have determined that a commercial fishery failure due to a fishery resource disaster exists for three regions of the Alaska Chinook salmon fishery under Section 308(b) of the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act of 1986 (lFA) and Section 312(a) of the MSA.
If they're such a fiercely independent state that's devoted to the idea of rugged individualism and free market purity, why did it ask the guv'ment for help with its fishing economy? From the Determination:
Commercial fishery failures can have cascading economic impacts on subsistence and sport fisheries. Rural communities on the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers depend on both the commercial and subsistence Chinook salmon fisheries for income and survival. In addition, the Cook Inlet Chinook salmon fishery supports an important sport fishery, which is one of the principal economic drivers for the local and regional economy.Yea, the Trib should have done its homework on this.
This determination provides a basis for Congress to appropriate disaster relief funding under the MSA and the IF A, and for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide assistance to affected communities.