Pentagon budget hits new record in spending bill
By Associated Press
| Wednesday, September 24, 2008 |
WASHINGTON – The House today took up a $630 billion-plus spending bill awarding the Pentagon a record budget while giving generous help to U.S. automakers and victims of hurricanes and floods.
The year-end budget measure also would lift a quarter-century ban on oil drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and is flying under the political radar compared with a hugely controversial White House plan to bail out Wall Street.
The bill is fueled by a need to keep the government running past the Oct. 1 start of the 2009 budget year. Until now, Democrats had mostly punted on the need to pass the 12 annual bills funding agency operating budgets, but the 357-page measure released late Tuesday — along with 752 pages of accompanying explanations and tables of previously secret earmarks by lawmakers — would close out about 60 percent of the budget work Congress must pass each year.
That includes $488 billion for the Pentagon, $40 billion for Homeland Security Department programs and $73 billion for veterans programs and military base construction projects.
Pelosi, who needs to be driven from office at all costs, slipped this one under the table after having been negotiated–not in the open light of debate, but in virtual secret, presented to the floor for vote with no more than several hours notice.
$630 billion, 357 pages, plus another 752 pages of footnotes and tables of previously secret earmarks by lawmakers, were released late Tuesday. Slam-dunked through within hours, while the nation was focused on (and raging ove) a $700 billion Wall Street bailout.
This is the government Nancy Pelosi has presented us.
Previously secret earmarks. So much for transparency. Offshore drilling is not only ‘back on the table,’ but approved. Homeland security gets $40 billion with which to bungle while Nancy caved to Bush administration blockage of extended unemployment insurance, increased food stamp payments and help for states dealing with shortfalls in their Medicaid budgets.
What are some of the earmarks? There are 2,322 of them, amounting to some $6.6 billion, so space only allows a few:
- A $182 million courthouse for Cedar Rapids, Iowa (chump change)
- $25 billion for Detroit automakers to use up and squander in their ‘final throes.’
- Twenty (additional) F-22 fighter planes that no one asked for.
“Americans will no longer tolerate the Republicans’ continued abuses of power and catering to corporate special interests,” Pelosi crows in front of cameras. Then, off camera (and well out of the sight and touch of her own legislative body) she slides this disgrace under the pre-election carpet.
A carpet is certainly in order here–one that Nancy can be called out to stand upon as she explains to the American people why she has given over their health and welfare in favor of that good ol’ industrial-military complex.
Those who hope for changes from Barack Obama (and I am among them) can take this as indicative of the continuation of business as usual under Democratic control in Washington. We have arrived at an unfortunate time in American history, where our legislative institutions have become so corrupt that party affiliation means very little.
Change is what we have been promised, from both candidates, and we shall have it in the form of the same old horseshit–with new flies.