More Wasteful Water Project Spending:

Despite levee failures and bridge collapses, Congress continues to divert public works spending to pork barrel projects. The latest example is the $23 billion water resources bill passed overwhelmingly by the Senate yesterday. Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle praise the measure. Senator Feingold was one of the few to call a pig a pig:

"After a decade of government and independent reports calling for reforming the corps and pointing out stunning flaws in corps projects and project studies, and after the tragic failures of New Orleans levees during Hurricane Katrina, the American people deserve meaningful reform," Mr. Feingold said in a speech on the Senate floor. "How many more flawed projects or wasted dollars will it take before we say enough is enough?" . . . .

More dire warnings came from watchdog groups and some engineering experts, who said that the bill did not ensure that the most crucially needed work in Louisiana or elsewhere would get the highest priority, and instead would allow lawmakers with the most political muscle to push their favored projects.

"We are diverting our spending for the high priority projects to the political priority projects," said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonprofit group that monitors Congressional spending.

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer praised the bill, explaining it addressed national priorities for water infrastructure, including flood control, navigability, ecological restoration, and "making sure our people have recreational opportunities around these projects."

The White House, for its part, said President Bush will veto the bill, but supporters appear to have enough votes for an override.

Mappo (mail):
I disagree with Feingold on a number of political issues.

That being said, the man is a senator's senator. Regardless of how he votes on a particular issue, I know that his vote is based on his own heartfelt opinion on the matter, as opposed to what a party hack or a lobbyist is pressuring him to do.
9.25.2007 11:38am
bellisaurius (mail):
I don;t know. I was reading through HR 1495, and while I see a lot of projects, they look like a mish mosh. Nothing that's entirely meaningless, but nothing that grabs my eye.

Pork, perhaps, but nothing indivdually bad. Lousiana gets a few projects, so I'm seeing what are the really bad parts (excluding my general thoughts on gov;t funded projects). Plus, at the end, it looks like there are a big chunk of projects that got deauthorized, which I found interesting.
9.25.2007 11:49am
bellisaurius (mail):
ermm.. "so I'm not seeing what are the really bad parts..."
9.25.2007 11:50am
Eli Rabett (www):
A wonderful example of what happens with the veto issue. The bill has to be loaded up with goodies for everyone to get past the 2/3 majority needed to over-ride. Look forward to more of this.
9.25.2007 11:53am
rarango (mail):
Excellent observation Eli--Pork is such a unifying thing!
9.25.2007 11:57am
Jim Harper (mail) (www):
It might be useful perspective to know that the bill costs a little over $150 per U.S. family, about $54 per man, woman, and child. Voting on the bill at is running right about even.
9.26.2007 12:15am