Pork Barrel Spending: Who Gets Credit for the Reduction?

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) released their 2007 Pig Book:

According to the Chinese calendar, 2007 is the Year of the Pig. Fortunately for American taxpayers, it will be a smaller pig than usual. The 2007 Congressional Pig Book has not been this little since 1999, as only two of the 11 appropriations bills were enacted by Congress and the remaining nine were subject to a moratorium on earmarks. There are no indoor rainforests, National Peanut Festivals, mariachi music grants, or teapot museums to be found. This year’s Pig Book breaks a run of seven consecutive years of record dollar amounts of pork, culminating in $29 billion in the 2006 Congressional Pig Book. This lesser barrel of pork can be attributed to the efforts of Senators Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who prevented the enactment of nine appropriations bills in December, 2006, and the subsequent moratorium on earmarks announced and enforced by the House and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairmen David Obey (D-Wis.) and Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) in H. J. Res. 20, the bill that funds the government for the remainder of fiscal 2007. There is still enough pork to cause concern for taxpayers, as 2,658 projects were stuffed into the Defense and Homeland Security Appropriations Acts, at a cost of $13.2 billion.

It seems that CAGW is giving credit for the lower pork to a few Republicans and the new Democratic leadership inn Congress. This must have sent off alarm bells over at the National Review so they had Stephen Spruiell:

The Democrats were hailed for doing more to wipe out pork in one month than the Republicans had done in eight years. But what happened can be likened to a football game: Conservatives Coburn and DeMint made the forgotten goal-line defensive stand. The Democrats scored the touchdown and took credit for the win.

Spruiell goes through the history of why Congress did not pass the other nine bills as if the Republican leadership wanted to get the job down but our heroes as in Coburn, DeMint, and Sessions single handedly stopped this. Please. And of course, Speaker Pelosi wanted pork filled bills but she dared not to. What a crock.

Spruiell continues:

The bigger problem, of course, isn’t about who gets the credit. It’s about what happens when Congress takes up new appropriations bills for FY08 in a few months. “Our concern is really next year when they have all those bills up again,” CAGW president Thomas Schatz tells National Review Online. “The Appropriations subcommittees are already asking members for their lists of earmark requests. Requests are due in by March 30th, and we’d like to see what those are.”

I have some good news for the good folks at CAGW. PAYGO is back. Of course, the National Review likely chose not to tell Thomas Schatz this very nice fact. After all, the National Review opposed PAYGO.