Overflowing Barrels

The porkiest bill ever?


In February, facing a yet-to-be-calculated bill for war with Iraq on top of budget deficits as far as the eye can see, Congress did what it does best, passing what may have been the most pork-laden spending bill ever. The $397 billion monstrosity included earmarked, local-interest appropriations that Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) expected to exceed the $20.1 billion record set in 2002.

"Representatives and senators, Republicans and Democrats have loaded this bill with some of the most wasteful projects in history," said CAGW President Tom Schatz. "This is more pork with one vote than they have ever passed in their lives."

Some highlights:

? $1 million for the Iowa Historical Society for exhibits related to the World Food Prize;

? $732,000 for the Center for Designing Foods at Iowa State;

? $725,000 for the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia;

? $500,000 for the Boat House Museum in St. Charles, Missouri; ? $500,000 for the Tongass Coast Aquarium in Alaska;

? $210,000 for swine hoop barn research in Iowa;

? $200,000 for the Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center;

? $150,000 for new office space for Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.);

? $100,000 for the Sea Otter Commission in Alaska;

? $350,000 for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame;

? $90,000 for the Cowgirl Hall of Fame;

? $750,000 for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

"I'd nominate Congress for the Pork Barrel Hall of Fame," Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) told The New York Times, "but I'm afraid the appropriators would actually try to appropriate money for it."