-$24 million for funding for sugar beets
-$2 million to the University of Vermont Education Excellence Program
-$25 million for the Safe and Drug Free Schools program
-$48 million for disaster reconstruction for NASA
-$13 million for mine safety research
-$25 million for asbestos abatement and tunnel repair at the Capitol Power Plant
-$640 million for LIHEAP
-$13.2 million for avian flu research and monitoring
-$3.5 million related to guided tours of the U.S. Capitol
-$12 million for forest service money (requested by the president in the non-emergency FY2008 budget)
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that this amounts to the Democrats trying to buy votes. Plain and simple. Even trying to buy the President's vote with the last one listed. But it's not working.
Isn't it interesting that Nancy Pelosi said in response to the President's refusal to sign the last version of the bill, "It is clear that the difference between the Democrats and the president is the issue of accountability. He will not accept any accountability or responsibility for what is happening (in Iraq)."
Is filling the bill with pork to get votes being responsible...and accountable?
John Bolten, former Ambassador to the UN, said the Democrats have made it impossible for the president to sign the bill because of insisting on a timetable for troop withdrawal. "Whether waiveable or not, timelines send exactly the wrong signal to our adversaries, to our allies and, most importantly, to the troops in the field."
Again, the Washington Post reported, "Republicans say the Democrats' failure to pass a "clean'' funding bill without any conditions has hurt military operations around the world by requiring Pentagon planners to juggle money among accounts. Democrats say there is enough money to fund Iraq operations into July -- more than enough time for the deadlock to be resolved."
I say, forget the strong-arming troop-withdrawal requirements, cut the pork, and fund our soldiers!
Congress can come up with other bills for the 'pork' items and even on a time-table for troop withdrawal, but let's stop the 'unaccountable' antics of loading a much needed funding bill, now.
© Sharon Hughes 2006
Sharon Hughes is Founder and President of The Center for Changing Worldviews and a radio talk show host on KDIA in