Interior Secretary Jewell Calls On Congress To Step Up For Conservation...Or President Obama Will

In an address last week to the National Press Club, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell called on Congress to become more conservation-minded.

Washington politics are infuriating, disappointing, enlightening, and entertaining. They rarely are dull. That is obvious based on what has transpired since October 1, when the federal government ran out of money.

* We saw a 16-day closure of the National Park System initially spurred by House Republicans...who then castigated National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis for how the parks were shuttered.

* We received a 208-page report from U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, that blamed the current state of the park system largely on those in Congress, but also on Park Service management.

* Most recently, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell called on Congress to support President Obama's broad conservation agenda...or the president will use his executive powers to move forward on parts of it.

In a speech last week before the National Press Club, the Interior secretary pointed to the value of public lands when it comes to climate change, clean air and water, and local economies. She talked about preserving these lands for generations yet to be born, of the need to "think about what conservation legacy we will leave for the next 50 years, for the next 100 years."

In short, she urged Congress to put up or shut up.

"The real test of whether you support conservation is not what you say in a press conference when the cameras are rolling, but whether you fight for it in the budget conference," Secretary Jewell told those at the Press Club gathering.

Some figurative fighting began last week almost immediately after Sen. Coburn issued his report, Parked! How Congress' Misplaced Priorities Are Trashing Our National Treasures, sections of which questioned the appropriateness of some units of the park system, such as Isle Royale National Park in Michigan. That immediately spurred bipartisan backlash from that state's congressional delegation, which pointed to the park not only as a breathtaking landscape but a key economic timber for area communities.

Which brings us back to Secretary Jewell's speech, which drew praise from the National Parks Conservation Association and the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, two groups that were critical of Sen. Coburn's take on the parks.

“With less than three years before the centennial of our National Park System, we agree with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell that Congress should adopt a rational budget that recognizes the value of national parks, conservation and their economic contribution to communities nationwide," said Theresa Pierno, NPCA's acting president. "We also agree that there is a need to improve the balance between conservation and energy development on our public lands and to continue to protect important new natural and cultural areas as national monuments.

“Secretary Jewell’s strong statements on the value of conservation to our nation and to our future are welcome, and should be heeded. The Secretary was correct that, in the wake of the federal government shutdown, the real test of congressional support for national parks, park visitors, and local park economies will be the outcome of the budget conference now occurring between the House and Senate," Ms. Pierno went on. "The administration’s response to that conference and the president’s budget proposal for FY 2015 will also be tests. The National Parks Conservation Association calls on Congress to end the mindless sequester cuts and restore critically needed investments in our national parks and public lands. We also call on the administration to propose a budget for FY 2015 that takes meaningful, bold steps to restore and renew our national parks and ready them for their second century."

Coalition officials issued a short, but definitive, statement endorsing the secretary's speech: "CNPSR fully endorses the programs she outlined and her eloquent defense of the nation's national parks, public lands and the overall work of the Department of the Interior. Secretary Jewell is thinking big and that is befitting for the Department Head that stewards the vast majority of the nation's public lands."

While leading Republicans in Congress likely will give little merit to the Interior secretary's speech, they might focus on her mention that President Obama "is ready and willing to step up where Congress falls short" when it comes to conserving public lands as wilderness, wild and scenic rivers, units of the National Park System, or in some other protected form.

To buttress that point, Secretary Jewell said that "(I)n the coming weeks and months, I will be meeting with communities and evaluating opportunities where action can ensure that our nation’s stories and landscapes are honored, celebrated and preserved for the generations to come."

Her road trip likely will draw ire from U.S. Reps. Doc Hastings, R-Washington, and Rob Bishop, R-Utah, who in particular have been highly vocal in the past with their opposition to the president wielding his executive power to create, for example, national monuments.

The ongoing partisan rancor, which has led to congressional grandstanding, poses a great danger to the country's conservation movement if it's allowed to overwhelm positive steps that are being made.

Among currently pending legislation that would further conservation across the country are:

* H.R. 139, the Udall-Eisenhower Arctic Wilderness Act that would preserve the Arctic coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, as wilderness.

* H.R. 145, the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act that would create more than 333,000 acres of wilderness in Idaho.

* S. 1294, the Tennessee Wilderness Act, which would create more than 19,550 acres of wilderness in Tennessee

Unfortunately, these measures' chances of passage are gauged by govtrack.us as being slim or none.

Here's hoping that Congress shows some rare statesmanship in guiding the affairs of the country.

Comments

More of 'the Chicago way' I guess. Threats won't solve the NPS's funding problems and Congress isn't likely to end the (President's recommended) sequester cuts for the NPS. Designation of additional units by the President will only require stretching of the NPS budget through more and more units. Doesn't seem like much of a solution to me.

I agree, MikeG. We can tax Americans until only the elite can visit the national parks or we can take care of what we have and reduce the size of govt. and maintain a reasonable budget for our federal govt. so that all may continue to enjoy them.

Some seem to forget, or overlook, that the Republicans offered to fund everything except the ACA and the Democrats refused and would not negotiate.

I love the national parks and it's been my lifelong dream to be able to visit them but if we run America into bankruptcy the what good will they be to us?

I think the point needs to be made that neither the "Chicago way," as Mike puts it, or the Tea Party way, as others might, need to be followed, or should be followed. Rather, the politicians need to put aside their petty partisanship, sit down, and do a better job managing the country's affairs.

As has been pointed out in other articles, the National Park Service's budget is 1/15th of 1 percent of the federal budget. Investing in the parks, or conserving public lands, is not bankrupting this country. There is plenty of pork in the federal budget that could be trimmed to enable us to live within our means.

Unfortunately, it seems politics of all colors is preventing those badly needed substantive discussions.

You nailed it, Kurt. Especially in the line: "There is plenty of pork in the federal budget that could be trimmed to enable us to live within our means."

What is uninterupted is the disconnect between modern environmentalists and the economic health (other than their own) of the country. When I see the least bit concern for the 92 million US citizens that are not working and the country as a whole, I might have a little more concern with NPS budgeting. Something more than expanding Food Stamp rolls, and drastic economic and social decline. Need a paradigm change, I believe.

Well then, let's cut some if it Lee...

Kurt, I agree that the Parks budget is peanuts in the big view. Because it's peanuts doesn't mean it should be ignored. The Interior Secretary's comments as reported are simply extortion. Paraphrased: Give us more money or the President will use executive authority... but of course he can't simply decree more money... He can just create more obligations..

In the Washington Post today there is a story on the money the government pays to dead people because it can't manage it's various disbursements.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/agencies-cant-always-tell-whos-dead-and-whos-not-so-benefit-checks-keep-coming/2013/11/03/5e0b89f6-40be-11e3-a751-f032898f2dbc_story.html?hpid=z6

How 'bout we work on something we can probably all agree, like stopping payments to dead people, instead of continuing to dig our hole deeper. Maybe the President could work on that for a while.... It could divert attention from this month's "debacle" as the HHS secretary terms it...When was the last time anybody government addressed the waste in government?

Once they stop paying dead people, I'd be ok with giving all that money to parks....though I'd rather simply see it not expended at all.

Mike, I think there are lots of places to cut spending. Sen. Coburn has pointed to some incredible waste over the years.

As for the NPS, I'd support an independent outside audit of the agency from top to bottom. That will either point out where savings could be had, or support those who say the agency is underfunded. But I don't support cutting for cutting's sake.

or the Tea Party way
Kurt,

I would be interested in what you think the "Tea Party way" is. As Inigo Montoya said- "I do not think it means what you think it means."

The total budget deficit for FY13 was $680B down from $1.09T in FY12(spending was down 2.3% overall). NPS spent $ 2.97B, 9% less than the agency did in FY12. NPS FY13 Operations spending through August 31st was down 7% compared to the same point in FY12($1.91B vs $2.05B).

http://www.fms.treas.gov/mts/mts0913.pdf

https://max.omb.gov/maxportal/document/SF133/Budget/attachments/679022273/678955649.pdf (see page 228)

Also, DOI's Agency Financial Report contains the external audit report that the Department receives every year.

http://www.doi.gov/pfm/afr/index.cfm

From teapartypatriots.org:

"First, many Tea Party activists do not believe in a federally funded education system. By eliminating education programs at the Smithsonian, this may be the first step in highlighting just how good America’s education system can be without federal interference.

Second, perhaps the National Parks Service would consider privatizing its security force guarding the memorials? Would this be less costly?

Third, why should taxpayer money go towards rangers whose job is to “interact with visitors?” Aren’t rangers supposed to be there for security and other more important matters?

And, finally, many fiscal conservatives have said the federal government should sell some of its National Parks, thus divesting the government of costly assets and providing one-time extra revenue that should go towards balancing the budget. This may be a good time to make that case again to the American people, taking advantage of sequestration."

I'm pretty sure many of us are aware of "The Tea Party Way" and have an understanding of what it entails.

We've all seen the Tea Party way. They put my wife on furlough for a couple of weeks when she would rather be doing her job. Do a Google image search on Tea Party rally and enjoy a cross section of America that Dante couldn't come close to illustrating. Don't forget to put the Cruz/Palin-2016 posters up on the wall.

Quoting Princess Bride without already being cool doesn't make you cool.

I will say only this. On October 1, The House of Representatives sent to the Senate a bill ending the shutdown for national parks, veterans affairs, and health. As majority leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada said no. He then complained in a speech on the Senate floor that Lake Mead National Recreational had been forced to close. I watched the speech on C-Span while under "house arrest" at the lodge in Zion National Park. But wait a minute. HE said no to the House bill. The parks could have been reopened had Reid said yes.

And now the Democrats want to blame the Republicans for shutting down the national parks? Hmmm. That's not what I heard and saw, but perhaps someone heard and saw it differently. The bottom line is this: If in fact the House sent the Senate a bill to reopen the parks--and Harry Reid said no--the Senate closed the parks. If the Traveler and all of us as commentators are to be taken seriously, we need to get our facts straight, so let's get this one straight. Was there in fact a House bill to reopen the parks that Reid rejected? Was it simply to reopen the parks, or did it have serious strings? Reid said nothing about any strings, other than that the shutdown should end across the board. In that case, who (and why) accepted that Utah, Arizona, and Colorado could reopen their parks with state-appropriated funds?

If I were writing this years from now as a historian, those are the questions and facts I would follow. So what are the facts? Who really shut down the parks? The facts, please, not just propaganda. So far, history doesn't show that the Republicans hate our national parks. But it does show that Harry Reid is a politician--and a good one for convincing us of just that.

Kurt, Point to you for mentioning Senator Coburn. Lots of waste out there for sure. Of course Sen Coburn isn't the first legislator who has highlighted govt. waste. Remember Senator William Proxmire from Wisconsin? His Golden Fleece award highlighted this kind of stuff for 20 years.

Pointing it out gets nothing done. There has to be a dedication within government to deal with waste and un-necessary expenditures (not necessarily the same thing). The current administration has no interest in this stuff.

Leadership in addressing the deficit and the debt must come from the top. Evidently, the top today is vacant. At least, there is no leadership available there. So we deal issues, usually involving additional entitlements and spending while the Republic burns.

Senator Coburn is ignored, despised by the other side for bring this stuff up and generally, has little ability to get much done. Senator Proxmire was probably the same. He does have one feature that sets him apart from the pack. He was something as rare as a passenger pigeon! He was a Democrat! Imagine! Today, he couldn't even get elected in Wisconsin! Maybe the Democrats have moved as far left as the Republicans are believed to have moved to the right.

Until we have a change in government we will have to settle for the little bit of reduced spending that is resulting from the sequester. Too bad it's a meat ax approach and hits good and bad programs alike. But it's something.

Just an FYI - the bills never made it out of the House. They didn't have enough votes - they needed 2/3s and couldn't get it. That was on October 2.

So, the House did not send the Senate a bill and Harry Reid did not say no.

BTW - Senate Democrats passed a bill to end the shutdown and the republican house refused to consider it.

dahkota,

Of the five items mentioned in the OPINION piece of ONE party member, I find only one of questionable merit - the interpretive ranger item. As I suspected the "Tea Party isn't what you or Kurt believe. Look at this list of 10 principles.

http://www.teaparty-platform.com/

Tell me what could be objectionable about those principles.


They put my wife on furlough for a couple of weeks


No Rick, the Dems refusal to negotiate and then their voting to keep the parks closed is what gave your wife her paid vacation.

Whatever you want to believe. You aren't convincing anyone, but keep telling yourself the party talking points.

I'm done with Monday Morning Whack-a-mole and putting you back on ignore for a while.

ecbuck: I can relate but there are lots of Rick B's out there invested in their deals, financially and emotionally that it is indeed a waste of time to even bother. Kind of like those in the executive, legislative and judicial branches that don't have to live under the same rules as the rest of us (refering to other directives also but Obamacare being the issue of the day). I expect the type of response that you've been getting but, "whatever."

Kurt is correct on both points when he said, "There is plenty of pork in the federal budget that could be trimmed to enable us to live within our means. Unfortunately, it seems politics of all colors is preventing those badly needed substantive discussions."

One of the difficulties is that each piece of pork has its own defenders, and one man's hog is another's sacred cow. Few of today's politicians seem willing to go after a program near and dear to one of his peers, for fear of having the "favor" returned.

That's one of the reasons Congress took the sequester approach, with mindless "across the board" cuts rather than targeted cuts that required some analysis - and a reason they rely on continuing resolutions vs. passing an actual annual appropriations bill for each department. Our "leaders" can all throw up their hands and claim they aren't responsible for any impacts on specific programs.

No, this would have been October 1, and applied only to the national parks, veterans, and health. I was watching C-Span the entire day. Nor would the bill have required a two-thirds vote. Has anyone checked Thomas? Was anyone "there?"

It failed on Oct 1st (262 to 176). It looks like they had some sort of vote on procedure involving this bill on Oct 2nd (230 to194) and passed it the same day (252 to 173). This was a CR, not an appropriation bill.

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2013/roll508.xml

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2013/roll512.xml

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2013/roll513.xml

Trailadvocate.

I know I won't convince Rick B. He is too deeply dependent upon the government handouts. But he (and those of similar ilk) can't go unanswered. There are enough people for which there is still hope and we can't let them be mislead.

I think Jim is quite right in his assessment of ones mans pork is another's sacred cow. But in my view, the "tea party" candidates are the ones closest to those willing to reject that approach.

And this from Thomas:

H.J.RES.70 Latest Title: National Park Service Operations, Smithsonian Institution, National Gallery of Art, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014 Sponsor: [url=http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/?&Db=d113&querybd=@FIELD(FLD003+@4((@1(Rep+Simpson++Michael+K.))+01590))]Rep Simpson, Michael K.[/url] [ID-2] (introduced 10/1/2013) Cosponsors (None) Related Bills: H.RES.370 Latest Major Action: 10/3/2013 Read the second time. Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 203 pursuant to the order of Oct. 2, 2013.

ALL ACTIONS:

10/1/2013:

Referred to the House Committee on Appropriations.

10/1/20134:44pm:

Mr. Simpson moved to suspend the rules and pass the resolution.

10/1/20134:44pm:

Considered under suspension of the rules. (consideration: CR H6071-6077; text of measure as introduced: CR H6071)

10/1/20134:44pm:

DEBATE - The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.J. Res. 70.

10/1/2013 5:11pm:

DEBATE - The House resumed debate on H.J. Res. 70.

10/1/20135:36pm:

At the conclusion of debate, the Yeas and Nays were demanded and ordered. Pursuant to the provisions of clause 8, rule XX, the Chair announced that further proceedings on the motion would be postponed.

10/1/20137:56pm:

Considered as unfinished business. (consideration: CR H6090-6091)

10/1/2013 8:02pm:

On motion to suspend the rules and pass the resolution Failed by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 252 - 176 (Roll no. 508).

10/2/20131:40pm:

Rules Committee Resolution H. Res. 370 Reported to House. The resolution provides for consideration of H.J. Res. 70, H.J. Res. 71, H.J. Res. 72, H.J. Res. 73, and H.R. 3230. The resolution provides for 30 minutes of debate on each measure and provides for one motion to recommit each measure. The resolution also provides that it shall be in order at any time through the calendar day of October 6, 2013, for the Speaker to entertain motions that the House suspend the rules.

10/2/2013 5:09pm:

Considered under the provisions of rule H. Res. 370. (consideration: CR H6146-6155)

10/2/2013 5:09pm:

The resolution provides for consideration of H.J. Res. 70, H.J. Res. 71, H.J. Res. 72, H.J. Res. 73, and H.R. 3230. The resolution provides for 30 minutes of debate on each measure and provides for one motion to recommit each measure. The resolution also provides that it shall be in order at any time through the calendar day of October 6, 2013, for the Speaker to entertain motions that the House suspend the rules.

10/2/2013 5:10pm:

DEBATE - The House proceeded with 30 minutes of debate on H.J. Res. 70.

10/2/20135:49pm:

The previous question was ordered pursuant to the rule. (consideration: CR H6152)

10/2/20135:50pm:

Mr. Van Hollen moved to recommit with instructions to Appropriations. (consideration: CR H6152; text: CR H6152)

10/2/20135:50pm:

DEBATE - The House proceeded with 10 minutes of debate on the Van Hollen motion to recommit with instructions, pending a reservation of a point of order. The instructions contained in the motion seek to require the bill to be reported back to the House with an amendment to replace the underlying bill with the Senate Amendment to H.J.Res. 59.

10/2/20135:54pm:

Mr. Simpson raised a point of order against the motion to recommit with instructions. Mr. Simpson stated that the provisions of the proposed amendment are not germane to the Joint Resolution. Sustained by the Chair.

10/2/2013 6:02pm:

Mr. Van Hollen appealed the ruling of the chair. The question was then put on sustaining the ruling of the chair.

10/2/2013 6:02pm:

Mr. Simpson moved to table the motion to appeal the ruling of the Chair. (consideration: CR H6154)

10/2/20136:29pm:

On motion to table the appeal of the ruling of the Chair Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 230 - 194 (Roll no. 512).

10/2/20136:35pm:

On passage Passed by recorded vote: 252 - 173 (Roll no. 513). (text: CR H6146)

10/2/20136:35pm:

Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.

10/3/2013:

Received in the Senate, read the first time pursuant to the order of Oct. 2, 2013.

10/3/2013:

Read the second time. Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 203 pursuant to the order of Oct. 2, 2013.

EC, that was an unwarranted attack on Rick, who had a career as a nurse. Sounds like a giving person to me. Let's all try to stick to Traveler's code of conduct pertaining to comments, please.

As for your claim about tea party candidates rejecting pork, how do you explain Ted Cruz promising to make "all available resources" from the federal government following the West Texas fertilizer plant explosion after voting against federal aid for Hurricane Sandy victims?

The Defense Department is the agency that needs some serious looking at. Defense spending is more than 50% of discretionary spending and 18% of total spending. It is also one of the few agencies that has never had a complete external financial audit. DOI has had external audits for more than a decade.

This is from GAO :
"DOD is one of the few federal entities that cannot accurately account for its spending or assets and is one of three major impediments that prevent GAO from rendering an opinion on the annual consolidated financial statements of the federal government."

Sorry about the Whack-a-mole imagery, Kurt. Rather than indulge in a lot of self righteous explanation about just how off base me being a handout kinda guy is - years and years of thousands of hours per year donating medical skills to my community isn't a taker - I'll walk away from this one. None of this personality stuff has a damn thing to do with the NPS or Traveler.

More wilderness, less mountain biking... We need less wilderness.

Because 5% of the U.S. is too much. (2.7% of the contiguous 48 is also too much.)


how do you explain Ted Cruz promising to make "all available resources" from the federal government following the West Texas fertilizer plant explosion after voting against federal aid for Hurricane Sandy victims?


Easy - He promised all "available resources" i.e. those that already existed and were to be available anywhere in the country for such unforseen events. He voted against the Sandy federal aid because the bill included vast amounts of "pork" that were totally unrelated to Sandy emergency relief. In his call for "available resources" he didn't tack on "Smithsonian repairs, upgrades to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration airplanes, and more funding for Head Start" all which were included in the Sandy bill.

From my own less than expert opinion of the vote to open the parks, I believe Mr. Runte is correct. The broader issue, on weather the senate should have followed suit, is. in my own opinion, that they should not have done so. The minority in the House of Representatives brought the debacle on, the damage is done, and I personally place the blame squarely on the house. Unfortunately, it looks like the game is to be played again, while thousands of dedicated public service officials , local gateway communities, etc, will pay the price. This does not even begin to to cover all the other agencies, employees, citizens, etc. that lost also. Thank you Secretary of Interior Sally Jewel for standing up to protect our public lands and make those additions that are necessary for environmental or historical reasons.


18% of total spending.


Near record lows and that for a funtion that is specified in the Constitution. Don't disagree it should be scrutinized, but the absolute level is certainly not out of line.

The fact that DOD cannot produce an auditable financial statement and is years off from doing so, is the point.

Even some Tea Party members aren't above a serving of pork back home.

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) is firmly in the Tea Party camp, but despite his calls to "cut wasteful spending" has been leading the charge for increased spending on a very dubious addition to the National Park System.

Here's just one news report: "A Texas congressman is behind efforts to turn former President George W. Bush's boyhood home into a national park."

"U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, a Republican who is calling for cuts to wasteful spending as the sequester sets in, successfully requested a 'reconnaissance survey' of the 1,400-square-foot home in the West Texas oil town of Midland."

"The survey, price tag as much as $25,000, is a first step in making the 1950s Bush family home into a unit of the National Park Service."

I'm the first to agree that the $25,000 for the study is a small sum as federal spending goes, but as the story notes, Rep. Conaway hopes it's just the first step in an expanding federal role (and expense) on behalf of a new Bush "national park" site.

The key point here not the amount, but as another sad example of political hypocrisy when it comes to "cutting government spending." The rule seems to be, cut as long as it doesn't apply to the politician's personal projects.

His Tea Party bio says Conaway "worked with George W. Bush as the Chief Financial Officer for Bush Exploration. Mike developed a lasting friendship with President Bush as together they learned what it takes to run a business."

Sounds like he also learned what it takes to bring home the pork.

A house they lived in for 4 years?


for increased spending on a very dubious addition to the National Park System.


And why would that addition be any more dubious than any other Presidential addition? If thats the best you can do for Tea Party pork, you have made my point. What was the cost of the pork in the Sandy relief?


His Tea Party bio


Could you show us where the Tea Party published this bio?

And BTW - I didn't say "Tea Party" candidates were totally immune from pork. My exact words were "are the ones closest to those willing to reject that approach." At $25k, I'll stand by that.


The fact that DOD cannot produce an auditable financial statement and is years off from doing so, is the point.


Agree - not acceptable. Has any other branch done that?

I do not know EC, and its only my opinion, but I think the extreme right of the Republican Party is whiter, more southern and more conservative than I can remember in my lifetime. The "Southernization" of the party has extended to rural states like Kansas and Arizona. Much like the pre civil war Democratic Party of John C. Calhoun, who augured that states had the right to reject federal laws that they did not like, ( in his case, eliminating slavery among others), todays Tea Party leaders are advocating repeal of the Affordable Care Act, support for voter suppression tactics, attacks on a women's right to make their own reproductive health decisions well the list is quite lengthly. There is also no room for tax increases on the wealthiest americans, corporate mega giants, etc. Not saying your wrong EC, I just do not think the Tea Party has any of the right answers though, to some extent, I can understand their resentment and frustration. It is a shame that the government was not shut down (airports. roads, national security, medicare, social security, etc.), as many more citizens would have realized just how much our government, at every level, has such a positive role in their lives.


todays Tea Party leaders are advocating repeal of the Affordable Care Act


Yes and hurray!!


support for voter suppression tactics


Absolute baloney


attacks on a women's right to make their own reproductive health decisions


More baloney. Show me in the 10 points (linked again below) does it say anything about "women's reproductive health decisions"

http://www.teaparty-platform.com/

http://www.nationaljournal.com/blogs/hotlineoncall/2010/12/tea-party-caucus-takes-1-billion-in-earmarks-02

Hmm Tea Party Caucus $1 billion out of $16 billion. Thanks for proving my point Justin.

Pork is pork, no, ec? Or is pork OK when it's not as much pork as the next politician shovels?

How exactly does that prove your point, ec?


Pork is pork, no, ec?


Yep - but again - the Tea Party appears to be less prone than others.


How exactly does that prove your point, ec?


1/10 of Congress and 1/16 of the pork. That would make them less prone than the others.

What I find most interesting is that the same group (Citizens Against Government Waste) showed zero pork in 2011 and only $3.3 billion in 2012 and in general, pork is at its lowest point since the early 1990's and a tiny fraction of its peak of $29 billion. I admit I am surprised. Pork is bad but its not the source of our financial problems.

http://cagw.org/reporting/pig-book#historical_trends

According to that list, it's more like 8% of Congress accounting for 6% of the pork. Thank goodness for the Tea Party and its principles.


Could you show us where the Tea Party published this bio?

This link was included in my previous post, and I'd say this qualifies:

http://teapartycheer.com/bios/the-south/texas/mike-conaway-tx-bio/

Ec, could it be Tea Party pork is lower than the rest of Congress because there aren't as many Tea Partiers in Congress?


My exact words were "are the ones closest to those willing to reject that approach." At $25k, I'll stand by that.


In light of that $1 billion figure, are you ready to take a new stand?

I think what the figures prove is that pork spending is not exclusive to any one party. Perhaps the solution is a paid Congress with term limits, so campaign donations don't come into play. But that's living in a fantasy world.


According to that list, it's more like 8% of Congress accounting for 6% of the pork.

{edit}
Retracted

So in that case they are 25% less prone to pork. Thanks for proving my point.

And actually there were 54 on that list. There are a total of 535 Senators and Congressmen so that is 10% of Congress so they are 40% less prone to pork.

[edit] And on further review, Justin, your list of 54 pork contributors includes only Congressman (probably because it helped skew the results the articles author wanted), so we are talking 54 of 425 or 12% contributing 6%. That is 50% less likelihood.


I'd say this qualifies:


Only if "house.gov" is the tea party - which it isn't.


could it be Tea Party pork is lower than the rest of Congress because there aren't as many Tea Partiers in Congress?


See comments above Kurt. Not only are they lower in absolute dollars they are substantially (40%) lower on a pro rata basis as well based on 2010 numbers. Not immune - but substantially lower. So yes I will stand by my comment.

I don't disagree with you re term limits - but (even to my own suprise as shown above) pork is a miniscule piece of the problem.


So in that case they are 25% less prone to pork. Thanks for proving my point.
And actually there were 54 on that list. There are a total of 535 Senators and Congressmen so that is 10% of Congress so they are 40% less prone to pork.


If you want to run the numbers that way, the Tea Party looks even more hypocritcal. There are 36 Congressmen on the list who are responsible for the $1 billion in pork. Therefore, 6.7% of the Congress is responsible for 6% of the pork. Those 6.7% are members of the Tea Party Caucus. Not quite throwing tea into Boston Harbor.


here are 36 Congressmen on the list who are responsible for the $1 billion in pork.


You can't pick and choose which congressmen you want to include. The question is Tea Party vs non-Tea Party and Tea Party congressmen on the whole hare 50% less prone to pork.

But once again, lets put it in perspective. The Tea Party wants to shut down Obamacare which according to the CBO:

CBO and JCT now estimate that the insurance coverage provisions of the ACA will have a net cost of just under $1.1 trillion over the 2012-2021 period