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article imageObama Signs Loaded Defense Bill Full of Non-Defense Items

By Michael Bearak     Dec 30, 2009 in Politics
President Obama promised transparency, he promised not to cave in to special interest groups, and he promised to cut pork barrel spending.
President Obama promised to do a lot of things when he became president and one of the biggest things he has promised over and over again is not to allow for pork barrel spending. Now in light of that comes the 2010 Defense Appropriation Bill a whopping $636 Billion price tag that President Obama signed last week.
The President promised a group of veterans in Arizona, "If a project doesn't support our troops, we will not fund it. If a system doesn't perform, we will terminate it. And if Congress sends me a defense bill loaded with that kind of pork, I will veto it."
The bill is loaded with roughly $4.2 billion in pork spending. Congress added 1,720 projects, some of which include:
$5 million for a visitors center in San Francisco
$2.4 million for handicap access and a sprinkler system in New York
$1.6 million to computerize hospital records in Oakland
$18 million goes to the Edward Kennedy Policy Institute in Massachusetts
$23 million for indigent health care in Hawaii
$800,000 for minority prostate cancer research
"We should be concerned that we're getting ripped off," said Ryan Alexander, president of the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense.
Masked in some of the money Congress poured in additional funds for items the Pentagon didn't ask for or even want like $5 billion for two destroyers and 10 C-17s.
Still, this is a bill that is a must pass, the country has to have defense money and sliding in some pork virtually guarantees the Congressperson's state will see it because of the importance of the bill.
John Kerry D-Mass. stated that the money for the Kennedy Institute is a tribute to the late Senator for his efforts and leadership in military technology.
Senator John Kerry.
Senator John Kerry.
Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., says she was "proud" to secure $20 million for a new wing of the National World War II museum in her home state.
Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana
Senator Mary Landrieu attends a conference examining how the Netherlands approaches protection for its citizens so information can be taken back to help New Orleans
Sandy Rosenthal
The Center of Defense Information released a statement saying that earmarking that is seen in this bill means there is less money for pilot training, counter intelligence, supplies and other needed areas.
Todd Harrison, at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, is especially disappointed Congress cut $300 million from a successful counterinsurgency program used by Army field commanders.
"That money is used by commanders on ground in Iraq and Afghanistan to fund small projects that help win over the local population," he said
More about President obama, Defense bill, Taxes, Pork barrel, Defense spending
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