The 'Pork Men'

Andrew Roth - April 12th, 2007

Senators Inouye and Stevens Brothers in Pork and Arrogance

Washington – The arrogance of career politicians was on full display today when Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) took to the Senate floor to boast of his and Senator Ted Stevens’ (R-AK) long careers of accumulating pork on the backs of American taxpayers. In a tribute to Senator Stevens’ new status as the longest serving Republican U.S. Senator, Senator Inouye declared:

He and I received the crown of being pork men of the year. We are the number one add-ons in the United State Senate. Mr. President, I’m proud to call Ted Stevens my brother, and I hope that we can continue this brothership for as long as we’re here.

“It’s a sad day in America when the longest serving Republican in U.S. Senate history is praised by an even longer serving Senator for setting the record for fleecing American taxpayers of their hard-earned money,” Club for Growth President Pat Toomey declared. “After thirty-nine years in the U.S. Senate, one would have hoped that Senator Stevens would have accomplished something more meaningful than petty parochial pork projects like a $223 million “Bridge to Nowhere” and a $1.5 million bus stop.”

“Instead of heaping praise on the Senate’s worst porker, the Senate should impose the reform rules requiring 100% earmark transparency that it had unanimously passed earlier this year,” Mr. Toomey continued. “Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), and Jim DeMint (R-SC) recently wrote a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell advocating for the adoption of those rules. They are the ones who deserve praise.”

Club Hails US-Korea Trade Deal

Andrew Roth - April 03rd, 2007

Club for Growth Hails U.S.-South Korea Trade Deal a Win-Win

Washington – The Club for Growth hailed the new free trade agreement between the U.S. and South Korea as a win-win for all involved. The trade pact, which lowers tariffs on a number of goods, constitutes the largest free trade agreement since NAFTA.

The new trade agreement is a victory for pro-growth policies and individual freedom in the marketplace. While there are still elements of the U.S.-South Korea relationship that would benefit from greater economic openness, the trade agreement is an important step in the direction of economic expansion for both the United States and South Korea.

“This trade agreement falls short in a few areas, but it still moves the ball towards more trade liberalization and more economic freedom,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey. “Free trade has long played a major role in America’s economic prosperity, and if America wants to continue along this path, it must engage itself fully and openly in the global economy.”

Rangel Admits to Buying Off Congressmen

Andrew Roth - April 02nd, 2007

Rangel Admits to Buying Off Congressmen
in Iraq War Supplemental

WASHINGTON – On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Representative Charlie Rangel admitted to deliberately stuffing the Iraq war supplemental bill with pork projects to buy off Congressmen opposed to the bill’s Iraq timetable. Consider the following exchange:

Tim Russert: The House voted for funding for the war with a date certain, March of ’08, to begin a withdrawal of U.S. troops. But in that bill was $20 billion of so-called pork: money for cricket infestation, tours of the capitol, security at the national convention, peanut crops. Why would the Democrats put that kind of money in such a serious bill?

Rep. Charlie Rangel: Because they needed the votes. That bill, we lost so many Democrats, one, because people thought we went too far and others because we didn’t go far enough. So a lot of things had to go into a bill that certainly those of us who respect great legislation did not want in there . . . And I didn’t care what was in that bill if there was anything to slow down, to say what the American people said in the last election, “get out of Iraq.”

“Reasonable people can disagree about the appropriate course to take in Iraq,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey, “but the American people overwhelmingly reject the spineless bartering of principles for petty pork. By Charlie Rangel’s own admission, Democratic members of Congress were willing to abandon their convictions on a vital matter of national security&mdashon a question of war or peace&mdashin exchange for a basketful of bacon. Only three months into a Democratic majority, principles are being bought and sold for the price of peanut storage and spinach. So much for ”the most ethical Congress in history.’”

Club Applauds Alternative House Budget

Andrew Roth - March 29th, 2007

Club for Growth Hails House Republican Budget Proposal

Washington – The Club for Growth applauded the House Republican substitute budget proposal for its commitment to protecting American taxpayers and limiting wasteful government spending. Unveiled yesterday, the proposal contains several key pro-growth provisions. These include:

  • Extends the pro-growth Bush tax cuts
  • Freezes non-defense discretionary spending
  • Major entitlement reform, saving taxpayers $279 billion over five years
  • Balances the budget by 2012 without raising taxes
  • Ends the raid on Social Security
  • Adopts a legislative line item veto
  • Earmark transparency
  • Establishes discretionary spending limits in the House through 2010

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for a number of other House budget proposals. The Progressive Caucus budget will raise taxes by $943.3 billion over five years; the Congressional Black Caucus by $711.9 billion; the Democratic leadership by $392.5 billion; and the Blue Dog Coalition by $197.8 billion. If there was an award for the most shameful budget, the Progressive Caucus would win hands down. Unfortunately, American taxpayers lose under all four of these proposals.

“The Republican budget proposal is the only budget that will restrict congressional gluttony and keep the economy growing strong,” Club for Growth President Pat Toomey said. “While other groups are falling over themselves to raise America’s taxes, it is reassuring to know that there is at least one budget proposal out of five interested in protecting American taxpayers and encouraging continued economic expansion.”

The Pork-Laden Iraq War Supplemental

Andrew Roth - March 28th, 2007

Groups Urge Senate Not to Pass a Pork-Laden
Iraq War Supplemental

Washington – The Club for Growth, the Republican Main Street Partnership, and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste urge the Democratic majority in the Senate not to play politics with taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars and called upon the Senate to reject a pork-laden emergency Iraq War Supplemental. These earmarks do not qualify as emergency or high-priority items, and therefore don’t belong in this bill.

“One has to wonder how the Democratic campaign pledges of fiscal responsibility translate into federal funds for political conventions and sugar canes,” Club for Growth President Pat Toomey said. “The answer, of course, is, they don’t. Rather, it is becoming abundantly clear from the Senate Iraq supplemental bill that many congressional members care more about their special interest buddies than the taxpayers they are supposed to represent.”

“Christmas trees, political conventions, and sugar beets have no business being tied to providing our troops the emergency resources to keep them well supplied and capable of responding to the conditions on the ground no matter how one might feel about a withdrawal timeline,” said current President and CEO of the Republican Main Street Partnership and former U.S. Representative Charles F. Bass (R-NH). “The Iraq War Supplemental bill is too important to be stuffed with billions of dollars in special interest-driven pork barrel spending that are being used to buy support for a flawed policy of micro-management and publicly announcing our military plans.”

“It’s Christmas time for Congress as visions of sugar beets dance in their heads,” CCAGW President Tom Schatz said. “Once again the Senate has demonstrated their insatiable appetite for pork at the expense of real priorities like protecting our troops in the field.”

The groups urge Democratic Leadership in the Senate to show restraint in using the spending bill as a political gimmick and down-payment on promises made to their special interests. The Club for Growth, the Republican Main Street Partnership, and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste urge Senators to reject the current pork-laden bill and applaud efforts to strip unnecessary funding from this critical piece of legislation.