Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Pelosi Offers To Nix Pet Projects To Help Pay For Katrina. DeLay's Response? Nah.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said yesterday that she would return to the federal Treasury $70 million designated for San Francisco projects to help pay for Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts.

"I would give them up to help Katrina victims," she told the San Francisco Chronicle. "The people of San Francisco would be very proud of that.''

The federal cost for Katrina recovery has been estimated at $200 billion. To help pay the cost, some have targeted the $286.4 billion transportation bill, passed in July, which contains about $24 billion in "earmarks'' for individual members' projects -- assailed as pork barrel spending at its worst.

Most of the bill's money is distributed to states according to funding formulas for highways, bridges and mass transit. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's suburban Houston district is slated to get $64.4 million under the bill, and DeLay (R-TX) has said that he brought home an additional $50 million for freeway projects in the metropolitan area. He also helped secure $324 million in funding credits for Houston's light rail construction.

Pelosi's district received $129 million from the legislation. Pelosi would return money for all projects, with the exception of $59 million for the Golden Gate Bridge earthquake retrofit project, which she termed vital for national security and public safety.

***

Commenting on Pelosi's thoughts, DeLay told reporters "I'll take a look'' at returning the members' individual transportation projects to pay for Katrina. But reporters suggested he sounded unenthusiastic.

"My earmarks are pretty important to that region,'' the Republican leader said, defending the money heading to his district. "The bill creates hundreds of thousands of jobs. It's an economic engine.''

***

In spite of DeLay's lackluster response, the idea of trimming pork to pay for Katrina has had bipartisan support.

As reported by JABBS, numerous anti-waste groups are on board with the idea. And Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) suggested earlier this month: "In the past year Congress has found a way to fund thousands of projects of questionable merit. Perhaps a few of those dollars could have been better spent on activities that might have limited the impact of this tragedy."

As House Majority Leader, it's up to DeLay to do the right thing? Or will he continue to offer the empty spin that there's no fat left to cut in the budget?

11 Comments:

Anonymous Cindy said...

Jobs = re-election, in other words, keeping his job is more important than helping Katrina victims...that's a republican for ya!

9:51 PM  
Anonymous marbuc said...

"hundreds of thousands of jobs?"

are you sure about that Tom?

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Tom Joad said...

yay, Pelosi. Now just nix the war funding!

That, unfortunately is a pet project Pelosi won't touch. Or work with Barbara Lee, Woolsey and others to bring the troops home.

wish it were not so. That is just the way it is. And we have to do something about that.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous MrTriumph said...

Hurray for Pelosi! Put the R's on the spot!

And demand they give up funding for Republican pork!

This could be a great issue for Democrats. Oh, it involves confrontation? Guess that's a little tough for most Democrats in the house.

Suggestion:

Say, Nancy, how about starting a "Peoples' Filibuster". Get your Dem.s out on the steps of the capitol and start reading off the list of Republican pork and don't stop until the house meets to cut the pork. If it lasts until Christmas, at least the American people will know where we stand.

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