Cafferty File

Pork spending, will it ever end?

Capitol Hill at night. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It just ain't Washington without the pork.

The New York Times reports that President Bush is unlikely to defy Congress on spending billions of dollars earmarked for pet projects. However, administration officials say he will probably insist that in the future, lawmakers give more justification for such spending.

A group of fiscal conservatives in Congress, along with budget watchdog groups, have been trying to get the president to clamp down on earmarks. They want him to issue an executive order that would instruct agencies to disregard earmarks not listed in the text of the legislation. Get this: more than 90% of earmarks are not actually included in the bills, but in committee reports.

Mr. Bush said in last year's State of the Union address: "The time has come to end this practice." Guess that time hasn't come quite yet.

Despite those calling for tougher rules when it comes to earmarks, there are more lawmakers who are trying to score such pet projects and brag about bringing home the bacon to their constituents.

The White House Office of Management and Budget shows that the 2008 spending bills signed by the president include more than 11,700 earmarks, totaling almost $17 billion.

Some of the pet projects this year include: museums, bicycle trails, control of agricultural pests, and aid to military contractors who are making things like "merino wool boot socks." The military contractors in this country definitely are a hardship case. Poor things.

Here’s my question to you: What will it take to get rid of pork spending by Congress?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Arthur from South Carolina writes:

That's simple. When people stop running for re-election they will be able to concentrate on their job and not on getting back 2 or 6 years later. Re-elect no one. No second terms. Period. Keep pandering out with term limits.

Bruce writes:
Jack, Never, unless a president uses the line item veto. Then pork spending by Congress will go away until they find another way to spend it.

Jarrod writes:
We can only blame members of Congress for this earmark problem for so long. After their term is up, it’s our responsibility to review their actions, decide if they are still working in our best interest and if not boot them out. The American people need to step up and choose better leaders. Jack, one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. This is a great example of what’s happening when we reelect members of Congress.

Forrest from Montana writes:
Better to spend the money here in the States than for Halliburton in Iraq. For the most part, pork has done a lot of good towards the improvement of Americans’ lives.

Robert writes:
Oh, it'll end when we dissolve Congress and force them to go back to their home states to get real jobs.

Clark from Spokane, Washington writes:
Sure, Jack, we'll get rid of earmarks, like we are going to get rid of K Street.

Eric writes:
Jack, it will take the end of the world as we know it. Armageddon must occur. Fire and brimstone must fall from the heavens raining down on politicians who look at serving in Washington as a source of income.

Steve writes:
Only way we can get rid of pork-spending is by getting rid of all the "butchers" of the economy. Choose better leaders.