Dem appropriators tuck funds for ski jump, bike trail in $1.5T spending bill's 367 pages of earmarks
"Pork is back on the table in Congress," said Adam Andrzejewski, CEO and founder of OpenTheBooks.com. "Bringing back earmarks is the equivalent of bringing back Swine Flu."
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
The Golden Horseshoe is a weekly designation from Just The News intended to highlight egregious examples of wasteful taxpayer spending by the government. The award is named for the horseshoe-shaped toilet seats for military airplanes that cost the Pentagon a whopping $640 each back in the 1980s.
This week's Golden Horseshoe goes to lawmakers who approved the omnibus spending bill loaded with approximately $9 billion in earmarks, which included many questionable projects such as bike trails, the restoration of a ski hill, and an analysis of best English instruction for immigrants.
The $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill signed into law by President Biden is over 2,700 pages long and includes 367 pages of earmarks.
With over 4,900 earmarks, the law contained many wasteful projects.
One questionable project was $500,000 to restore a ski jump, one of many earmarks secured by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
"This federal appropriation will be used to help in the preservation of the Big Nansen Ski Jump, a historic site registered on the National Register of Historic Places, in Milan, NH," read the description of the earmark in Shaheen's 30 pages of pet projects. "The Big Nansen Ski Jump was once the largest ski jump in the world and used for several Olympic Trials, including the 1938 trials, and other national championships. This appropriation will be used to address structural issues associated with the site's aging infrastructure." PAGE 11 of the PDF
Shaheen also secured $233,000 for Southern New Hampshire University to fund a "community needs analysis regarding the greatest needs for English language instruction" for immigrants and refugees in Manchester. PAGE 16
Shaheen boasted about the tens of millions she secured for her state's pet projects.
"Soon, more than $62 million will belong to the State of New Hampshire to invest in local projects through this government funding legislation," said Shaheen in a press release. "As a senior member of the committee, I advocated for these projects which will provide equipment to Granite State first responders, repair and improve infrastructure, invest in conservation research and much more …"
Meanwhile, Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Jack Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, landed $3.2 million for a bike path in his state. It was one of over 87 projects for the state that will be funded by $226 million in federal funds.
"This overdue Omnibus Appropriations package strikes a balance and invests in middle-class priorities," Reed said in prepared remarks upon the bill's introduction, saying it would "strengthen our economy, enhance public health, safety, and security, and deliver a real boost for working families. The omnibus targets investments toward our nation's biggest challenges …"
But the return of earmarks after an 11-year moratorium on the practice has drawn heavy criticism, especially from watchdog groups.
"Earmarks are the currency of corruption in Congress," Adam Andrzejewski, CEO and founder of OpenTheBooks.com, told Just The News. "It's a legal way for the Speaker to buy votes and influence while doling out pet projects to members. Pork is back on the table in Congress. Bringing back earmarks is the equivalent of bringing back Swine Flu.
"Over the last 20 years, Republicans and Democrats found common ground to drain the U.S. Treasury from the right and the left. Our national debt increased from $5.7 trillion at the start of the George W. Bush administration to more than $30 trillion today. Continuing to earmark pet projects within bloated legislation will only drive our national debt higher.
"Earmarks are the gateway drug for bloated government and taxpayer abuse."
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