Government Spending

It Ain't Kosher

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"For the first time in history," says the introduction to Citizens Against Government Waste's 1997 Congressional Pig Book Summary, "the President has the line-item veto. Will he use it to cut deals or cut pork?" We may never find out. In April, a federal district court ruled that the line-item veto, approved by Congress in 1995 as part of the Contract with America, is an unconstitutional delegation of power.

Oh, well. The Pig Book, which describes some of the year's more egregious allocations of tax dollars, has entertainment value, if nothing else. CAGW counted $14.5 billion in total pork, up 16 percent from the previous session of Congress. A few highlights:

? $3.5 million for "wood utilization research"

? $445,000 for "improved fruit practices"

? $4 million for the Gambling Impact Study Commission

? $330,000 for Stellar Sea Lion research

? $5 million for the National Defense Center for Environmental Excellence

? $4 million for the Discovery Center of Science and Technology

? $2 million for an International Fertilizer Development Center

? $3 million for the George H.W. Bush Fellowship

? $3 million for buses and bus facilities in Williamsport and Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Hawaii, Alaska, Montana, and Oregon–the states of influential legislators–were the leaders in per capita pork, at $131, $114, $49, and $32, respectively. CAGW gave a Lifetime Achievement Award to Mark Hatfield (R-Ore.), former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, whose pork totaled $509 million over six years. Hatfield still couldn't beat CAGW Hall of Shame inductee Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), who brought his state $765 million in pork during the same period.