Magazine article Insight on the News

And This Little Piggy Went to Congress

Magazine article Insight on the News

And This Little Piggy Went to Congress

Article excerpt

Just when you begin to emotionally invest in the delusion that America's fiscal house is in order, stoked by sunny predictions of budget surpluses as far as the eye can see, along come the killjoys at Citizens Against Government Waste, or CAGW, to remind taxpayers what a pigsty Capitol Hill still can be when it comes to "bringing home the bacon."

Due to be released in early March, the group's eighth annual Pig Book pork-barrel report not only proves that the art of raiding the federal treasury is still well- practiced, but that the once-dreaded line-item veto is providing no deterrent to earmarks. The veto's cause has been hurt by Clinton administration bumbling and a federal judge's Feb. 12 ruling that it's unconstitutional, putting the measure on the fast track to the Supreme Court.

CAGW uses a seven-point, procedurally based criteria to determine what "pork" is, meaning that it doesn't pass their smell test if it shortcuts the established appropriations process. Among the trends the report is expected to reveal: a mysterious "realignment" of the pork universe that has Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott's beloved Mississippi as fiscal 1998's biggest pork recipient.

Here's a sampling of the projects taxpayers will find in this year's Pig Book, which always is met with squeals of indignation on Capitol Hill:

* $17.5 million in spending added by the Senate for projects in the home state of Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Transportation member Christopher Bond, a Missouri Republican, including $8 million for buses and bus facilities, 4. …

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