The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

Mam­moth leg­is­la­tion with a stu­pe­fy­ing price al­ways draws close scru­tiny. Such is the case with the 1,532page, $1.1 tril­lion Con­sol­i­dated Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Act, as the lum­ber­ing bill that will fund fed­eral agen­cies and as­sorted pro­grams through Septem­ber 30 has been chris­tened. Though it has not yet be­gun to smell, the big bill is al­ready of­fend­ing those of a more fru­gal mind­set. Cit­i­zens Against Gov­ern­ment Waste deems the leg­is­la­tion ob­jec­tion­able be­cause it breaks the se­quester bud­get caps. And there are ear­marks which meet the watch­dog group’s “long­stand­ing, seven-point cri­te­ria for pork-bar­rel spend­ing.”

Among them: $112.9 mil­lion for the Ru­ral Util­i­ties Ser­vice; $90 mil­lion for con­tin­ued up­grade of M1 Abrams; $60 mil­lion for al­ter­na­tive en­ergy re­search; $341 mil­lion for the Army Corps of Engi­neers; $4 mil­lion for aquatic plant con­trol; $45.1 mil­lion for high-in­ten­sity drug traf­fick­ing ar­eas pro­grams; $98 mil­lion for the Na­tional Do­mes­tic Pre­pared­ness Con­sor­tium; $25 mil­lion for the Na­tional Pre­dis­as­ter Mit­i­ga­tion Fund; $9.3 mil­lion for Her­itage Part­ner­ship Pro­grams through the Na­tional Park Ser­vice; and $14.4 mil­lion for Ru­ral Hos­pi­tal Flex­i­bil­ity Grants.

The group ac­knowl­edges that there are a few pro­vi­sions that would in­crease trans­parency and elim­i­nate waste­ful spend­ing — a re­duc­tion of $49 mil­lion for the fed­eral bio­fu­els pro­gram, for in­stance — ear­marks and other waste­ful spend­ing “far out­weigh any pos­i­tive as­pects.”

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