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InsiderOnline Blog: August 2005

Congress Piles on Pork

The energy bill joined CAFTA and the transportation bill in Congress's "accomplishments" in the pre-August recess rush.  While CAFTA, which the House narrowly passed, was good news, the energy bill and the highway bill, which both passed the House decisively, are good news for big government and out-of-control spending.

Saturday's Washington Post looked at the energy bill and found that it is "a piñata of perks for energy industries."

It...includes an estimated $85 billion worth of subsidies and tax breaks for most forms of energy -- including oil and gas, "clean coal," ethanol, electricity, and solar and wind power. The nuclear industry got subsidies for research, waste reprocessing, construction, operation and even decommission. The petroleum industry got new incentives to drill in the Gulf of Mexico -- as if $60-a-barrel oil wasn't enough of an incentive. The already-subsidized ethanol industry got a federal mandate that will nearly double its output by 2012--as well as new subsidies to develop ethanol from other sources.

"There's pork in there for everyone," CEI's Myron Ebbell told the Post.

The pork in the energy bill pales in comparison to the highway bill, which has become the vehicle for lawmakers' pet projects.  The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste has examined the bill and picked out "some of the more than 6,000 egregious projects."  These projects include $5 million for road improvements near the Brooklyn Children's Museum, $5 million to improve air quality in Sacramento, $48 million for a new bridge in DC, and more.

Let's not forget: CAFTA, the best thing to come out of the House last week, passed by two votes and only after concessions to various members.  The highway bill, which promises $230 million to an Alaskan "bridge to nowhere" and then names it after Don Young, passed by 404 votes.

Posted on 08/01/05 01:51 PM by Larry Scholer

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