STATEMENT BY SENATOR JOHN McCAIN ON THE FLOOR OF THE U.S. SENATE DECEMBER 14, 2010 REGARDING THE FISCAL YEAR 2011 OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS ACT
“Mr. President, at 12:15 p.m. this afternoon, my office received a copy of the omnibus appropriations bill. It is 1,924 pages long and contains the funding for all 12 of the annual appropriations bills for a grand total of over $1.1 Trillion. It is important to note that the 1,924 pages is only the legislative language and does not include the thousands of pages of report language which contain the details of the billions of dollars in earmarks and, I’m sure, countless policy riders.
“While we continue to uncover which earmarks the appropriators decided to fund – thanks to a new online database – we at least know what earmarks were requested by Members and how much those projects would cost the American people if they were all funded. Taxpayers against Earmarks, www.washingtonwatch.com and Taxpayers for Common Sense joined forces to create this database. According to the data they compiled – for fiscal year 2011 Members requested over 39,000 earmarks totaling over $130 billion. Absolutely disgraceful. I encourage every American to go to the website www.endingspending.com study it, and make yourselves aware of how your elected officials seek to spend your money.
“In the short time I’ve had to review this massive piece of legislation – I’ve identified approximately 6,488 earmarks totaling nearly $8.3 billion. Here is a small sample:
$277,000 for potato pest management in Wisconsin
$246,000 for bovine tuberculosis in Michigan and Minnesota
$522,000 for cranberry and blueberry disease and breeding in New Jersey
$500,000 for oyster safety in Florida
$349,000 for swine waste management in North Carolina
$413,000 for peanut research in Alabama
$247,000 for virus free wine grapes in Washington
$208,000 beaver management in North Carolina
$94,000 for blackbird management in Louisiana
$165,000 for maple syrup research in Vermont
$235,000 for noxious weed management in Nevada
$100,000 for the Edgar Allen Poe Cottage Visitor’s Center in New York
$300,000 for the Polynesian Voyaging Society in Hawaii
$400,000 for solar parking canopies and plug-in electric stations in Kansas
“Additionally, the bill earmarks $727,000 to compensate ranchers in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan whenever endangered wolves eat their cattle. As my colleagues know, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Gray Wolf program is under intense scrutiny for wasting millions of taxpayer dollars every year to ‘recover’ endangered wolves that are now overpopulating the West and Midwest. My State of Arizona has a similar wolf program but ranchers in my state aren’t getting $727,000 in this bill.
“Mr. President, I will have much more to say about this bill later this week. I assure my colleagues – we will spend a great deal of time talking about this bill and the outrageous number of earmarks it contains. But for now let me just say this: it is December 14th – we are 22 days away from the beginning of a new Congress and nearly three full months into fiscal year 2011 – and yet we have not debated a single spending bill or considered any amendments to cut costs or get our debt under control. Furthermore, the majority decided that they just didn’t feel like doing a budget this year. How is that responsible leadership?
“This is the ninth omnibus appropriations bill we have considered in this body since 2000. That is shameful and we should be embarrassed by the fact that we care so little about doing the people’s business that we continuously put off fulfilling our constitutional responsibilities until the very last minute.
“One thing is abundantly clear to me – that the majority has not learned the lessons of last month’s election. The American people could not have been more clear. They are tired of wasteful spending. They are tired of big government. They are tired of sweetheart deals for special interests. They are tired of business as usual in Washington. And they are tired of massive bills – just like this one – put together behind closed doors, and rammed through the Congress at the last moment so that no one has the opportunity to read them and no one really knows what kind of waste is in them.
“Let me be clear about one thing – if the Majority Leader insists on proceeding to this monstrosity – the American people will know what’s in it. I will be joined by many of my colleagues on this side of the aisle to ensure that every single word of this bill is read aloud here on the Senate floor.
“I encourage my friends on the other side of the aisle to rethink their strategy and move forward with a short-term continuing resolution to fund the government into next year when a new Congress takes over – a Congress that was elected by the American people on November 2nd. “The majority may be able to strong arm enough members into voting for this omnibus – but they will not win in the end. The American people will remember – and I predict that we will see a repeat of November 2nd in the very near future.”
$208,000 beaver management?
Thusday afternoon, the Senate Democrats pulled the omnibus appropriations bill. It is officially dead. Under an onslaught of lobbying and complaints from citizens, the seven Republicans who said they would vote for it, which would give the Senate the votes needed to pass, reversed course and withdrew their support. Being unable to muster the votes, the bill was killed.