23 March 2007

Mercenary Congress




1. Motivated solely by a desire for monetary or material gain.
2. Hired for service in a foreign army.

From Gateway Pundit on some of the Pork packed into the Iraqi military funding bill in the House:

Aquaculture Operations: Provides $5 million for payments to "aquaculture operations and other persons in the U.S. engaged in the business of breeding, rearing, or transporting live fish" (such as shellfish, oysters and clams) to cover economic losses incurred as a result of an emergency order issued by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on October 24, 2006.

Spinach: Provides $25 million for payments to spinach producers that were unable to market spinach crops as a result of the FDA Public Health Advisory issued on September 14, 2006.

Hurricane Citrus Program: Provides $100 million to provide assistance to citrus producers (such as orange producers) in the area declared a disaster related to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
NASA: Provides $35 million to NASA, under the "exploration capabilities" account, for "expenses related to the consequences of Hurricane Katrina."

Corps of Engineers: Provides $1.3 billion to Corps of Engineers for continued repairs on the levee system in New Orleans.

FEMA: Provides $4.3 billion for disaster relief at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The bill would eliminate the state and local matching requirements for certain FEMA assistance (in connection with Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma, and Dennis) in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Florida, and provides that the federal portion of these costs will be 100%.

HUD Indian Housing: Provides $80 million in tenant-based rental assistance for public and Indian housing under HUD. Crop Disaster Assistance: Provides roughly $3 billion in agriculture assistance to crop producers and livestock owners experiencing losses in 2005, 2006, or 2007 due to bad weather.

Shrimp: Provides $120 million to the shrimp industry for expenses related to the consequences of Hurricane Katrina.

Frozen Farmland: Provides $20 million for the cleanup and restoration of farmland damaged by freezing temperatures during a time period beginning on January 1, 2007 through the date of enactment.

Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) Program: Provides $283 million for payments under the MILC program, to extend the life of the program for one year, through September 30, 2008. MILC provides payments to dairy farmers when milk prices fall below a certain rate.

Peanut Storage Subsidies: Provides $74 million to extend peanut storage payments through 2007. The Peanut Subsidy Storage program, which is set to expire this year, pays farmers for the storage, handling, and other costs for peanuts voluntarily placed in the marketing loan program.

FDA Office of Women's Health: Provides $4 million for the Office of Women's Health at the Food and Drug Administration.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): Provides $60.4 million for fishing communities, Indian tribes, individuals, small businesses, including fishermen, fish processors, and related businesses for assistance related to "the commercial fishery failure." According to the Committee Report, this funding is to be used to provide disaster relief for those along the California and Oregon coast affected by the "2006 salmon fishery disaster in the Klamath River."

Avian Flu: Provides $969 million for the Department of HHS to continue to prepare and respond to an avian flu pandemic. Of this funding, $870 million is to be used for the development of vaccines.

Secure Rural Schools Act (Forest County Payments): Provides $400 million to be used for one-time payments to be allocated to states under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000. This program provides a funding stream (known as forest county payments) to counties with large amounts of Bureau of Land Management land, in order to compensate for the loss of receipt-sharing payments on this land caused by decreased revenue from timber sales due to environmental protections for endangered species. The authorization for these forest county payments expired at the end of FY 2006, and counties received their last payment under the Act in December 2006.

LIHEAP: Provides $400 million for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

Vaccine Compensation: Provides $50 million to compensate individuals for injuries caused by the H5N1 vaccine, which is a flu vaccine. Payment to Widow of Rep. Norwood: Provides $165,200 to Gloria W. Norwood, the widow of former Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA), an RSC Member, who passed away last month. In the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2005 (H.R. 1268), Congress provided $162,100 to Doris Matsui, the widow of former Rep. Robert Matsui.

Capitol Power Plant: Provides $50 million to the Capitol Power Plant for asbestos abatement and safety improvements. Liberia: Provides that money appropriated for FY 2007 for the Bilateral Economic Assistance program at the Department of Treasury may be used to assist Liberia in retiring its debt arrearages to the International Monetary Fund, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the African Development Bank.

SCHIP: Provides $750 million to the Secretary of HHS to provide assistance to the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) "shortfall states,", in the form of an amount "as the Secretary determines will eliminate the estimated shortfall." This provision is direct spending that is essentially capped at $750 million and designated as an emergency to avoid PAYGO constraints.

Minimum Wage Increase: Increases the federal minimum wage from $5.15-per-hour to $7.25-per-hour over two-plus years-a 41% increase. Yields $16.5 billion in private-sector costs over five years.

Tax Increases and Shifts: Implements several tax increases and shifts, including: denying the lowest maximum capital gains tax rate for certain minors and adults, extending the suspension of interest payments due to the IRS, and adjusting the deadlines for corporate estimated tax payments. Costs taxpayers $1.380 billion over the FY2007-FY2017 period.
All so very good for an Armed Forces sustainment bill, isn't it? These all so fall in line with the military things that the Congress has sole oversight upon, don't they? Here is what all of this should meet for the Armed Forces from Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution, in part:
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Are we going to be giving the military ALL of this to run? Of course not! These are bribes to get votes for a bill that is so complex that even the backers cannot understand it...

[John] ROBERTS [Late Edition CNN host]: Joe Biden, how do you pass or enforce something you can't even explain?
You see it is an 'Emergency Bill' with various things that have been in it being debated for months or longer... and some of it is to pay out to an industry that was caught with e-coli in its midst from ABC4 and H/t to Instapundit:
"I understand this is the way our legislature works, but I think it's just sickening," Michelle Matthews of Eagle Mountain told ABC 4 News. She's upset because one of the earmarks reimburses California spinach farmers $25 million for losses they suffered. The losses came when they were unable to sell their crops last fall after Americans got sick and died from e-coli bacteria in a batch of tainted spinach.

Some of that spinach found its way to the Matthew's dinner table. Michelle got sick, but her daughter, Arabella, almost died. Arabella was just two-years-old when she came down with e-coli. She spent nine days at Primary Children's Hospital, had an operation and was on kidney dialysis.

The Matthews have about $60,000 in medical bills now, mostly covered by insurance. She says the family has been assured the spinach grower's insurance company would pay the bills, but no money has arrived. Then Mrs. Matthews read that the spinach farmers stand to gain $25 million from the Iraq war spending bill.

"To reimburse them for making people ill is just inappropriate," Mrs. Matthews said. "It's insane that my tax dollars and the tax dollars of my family are going to pay these spinach farmers for their bad spinach for things that were their fault in the first place."
Oh, my! No insurance carriers willing to cover the spinach industry against this sort of thing? So we are now going to cover for corporate incompetence with Democratic approval. And far be it from me, but NASA, HUD, FEMA, FDA and NOAA all get their very own budgets which can be passed in a timely manner if Congress would start on them *now* instead of waiting forever and a day to get off its butts. Where is the "Emergency" for Hurricane Katrina or a re-zoning of Bureau of Land Management land that happened in 2000? Isn't the Dept. of Agriculture already spending enough on crop subsidies and such, to a tune of $12 billion or more per year, and that is AFTER "emergency" set-asides and such?

In fact what we are seeing is vote buying for pay in a time of war.

To try and demoralize the Armed Forces and embolden the enemies of the Union.

One does not need to fight to be a mercenary: bought and paid for to help foreign enemies against the United States.

And where will the leader of the House of Representatives *be*?

At a $28,500 per head fund raiser in NYC.

Because, in Washington, money talks and the Nation suffers because those elected will not forgo cash to secure it.

And a good mercenary is *always* looking for more pay, no matter who the supplier is.