New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, hammered Congress over their failure to pass a Sandy relief package in a timely manner. Well, as it turns out, it’s loaded with pork. Furthermore, some spending in the package doesn’t begin until after 2015. Katrina Trinko of the National Review wrote in December of last year that:
Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn also has concerns, telling CNN today that “This is a stimulus bill, not an emergency bill,” and saying that nearly two thirds of the funding allocated by the bill wouldn’t actually get spent prior to 2015.
Well, turns out some of the money won’t even get spent until after 2015. In an e-mail to reporters today, Taxpayers for Common Sense vice president Steve Ellis writes that some of the money isn’t marked for use until fiscal year 2019:
As we go through the bill, there’s a lot in here that isn’t emergency. For instance, 25 percent of the $10.8 billion in Federal Transit Administration funding won’t be spent until after fiscal year 2019! The Senate took the President’s request for $32 million for Amtrak and added a zero plus some more to come up with $336 million. Much of this is for a long-term project that has been in the works for year and has nothing to do with Sandy. There’s also policy provision that could have long consequences like the blanket, unlimited project authorization authority given to the Corps. This is an agency with a $60-70 billion backlog.
On January 2, Katie Pavlich at Townhall added that the bill contains:
$58.8 million for forest restoration on private land.
$197 million “to… protect coastal ecosystems and habitat impacted by Hurricane Sandy.”
$10.78 billion for public transportation, most of which is allocated to future construction and improvements, not disaster relief.
$17 billion for wasteful Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), a program that has become notorious for its use as a backdoor earmark program.
One thing is certain. Pork is delicious.