February 2, 2009
H.R.1: The House's Pig PenBy Lee Cary
The pork-laden American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 passed by Democrats in the House is a huge pig pen.
Thanks to the staff of Congressman Michael Burgess (TX-R., 26th Dist.), I waded through a hardcopy of Division A - Appropriations Provisions of H.R.1. It's painful and it's ugly. (My reading of "Division B - Other Provisions," pages 251-647, which contains the bill's Tax provisions, will require OTC painkillers not currently in my possession.)
There's enough pork in Division A to rename the Washington D.C. Reflecting Pool the Bay of Pigs.
At the risk of hurting you, I list the bill's appropriations below. You can consult the entire bill for details, where there are any. And there are few. Most of the explanations for how the money is to be spent are as brief as fortune cookie notes, and opaque as peanut butter. I left the zeros in for impact and highlighted several of the larger numbers. It's possible there's a mistake in transcription, but you'll get the drift.
Department Of Agriculture
$44,000,000 - Agriculture Buildings and Facilities and Rental Payments; $209,000,000 - Agricultural Research Service Buildings and Facilities; $245,000,000 - Farm Service Agency Salaries and Expenses; $350,000,000 - Natural Resources Conservation Service Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations; $50,000,000 - Watershed Rehabilitation Program; $5,838,000,000 - Rural Development Programs, Rural Community Advancement Program; $22,129,000,000 - Rural Housing Service, Rural Housing Insurance Fund Program Account; $2,825,000,000 - Rural Utilities Service, Distance Learning, Telemedicine, and Broadband Program; $100,000,000 - Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children; $150,000,000 - Emergency Food Assistance Program" (This includes grants for Puerto Rico and American Samoa); $300,000,000 - Administrative Expenses ($150,000,000 each in '09 & '10); $650,000,000 - Forest Service, Capital Improvement and Maintenance; $840,000,000 - Wildland Fire Management
Department Of Commerce
$250,000,000 - Economic Development Administration, Economic Development Assistance Program; $1,000,000,000 - Bureau of the Census, Periodic Censuses and Programs (additional funding); $350,000,000 - National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Salaries and Expenses; $2,825,000,000 - Wireless and Broadband Deployment Grant Programs; $650,000,000 - Digital-To-Analog Converter Box Program; $100,000,000 - National Institute of Standards and Technology Scientific and Technical Research and Services; $100,000,000 - Industrial Technology Services
$300,000,000 - Construction of Research Facilities; $400,000,000 - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Operations, Research and Facilities; $600,000,000 - Procurement, Acquisition and Construction (includes not less than $140,000,000 for "climate data modeling")
Department Of Justice (DoJ)
$3,000,000,000 - State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance; $1,000,000,000 - Community Oriented Policing Services
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
$400,000,000 - Science (not less than $250,000,000 "shall be solely for accelerating the development of the tier 1 set of Earth science climate research missions); $150,000,000 - Aeronautics; $50,000,000 - Cross Agency Support Programs (restoration and mitigation of NASA infrastructure and facilities damaged during 2008 disasters)
National Science Foundation
$2,500,000,000 - Research and Related Activities; $100,000,000 - Education and Human Resources; $400,000,000 - Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction
Department Of Defense
$4,500,000,000 - Facility Infrastructure Investments; $350,000,000 - Energy Research and Development; $920,000,000 - Military Construction, Army; $350,000,000 - Military Construction, Navy & Marine Corps; $260,000,000 - Military Construction, Air Force; $3,750,000,000 - Military Construction, Defense-Wide; $140,000,000 - Military Construction, Army National Guard; $70,000,000 - Military Construction, Air National Guard; $100,000,000 - Military Construction, Army Reserve; $30,000,000 - Military Construction, Navy Reserve; $60,000,000 - Military Construction, Air Force Reserve; $300,000,000 - Department of Defense Base Closure Account 1990
Department Of Veterans Affairs (VA)
$950,000,000 - Veterans Health Administration, Medical Facilities; $50,000,000 - National Cemetery Administration
Energy And Water
$2,000,000,000 - Army Corps of Engineers, Civil Construction; $250,000,000 - Mississippi River and Tributaries; $2,225,000,000 - Operation and Maintenance; $25,000,000 - Regulatory Program
Department Of Energy
$18,500,000,000 - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; $4,500,000,000 -; $1,000,000,000 - Advanced Battery Loan Guarantee Program; $500,000,000 - Institutional Loan Guarantee Program; $8,000,000,000 - Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program; $2,400,000,000 - Fossil Energy; $2,000,000,000 - Science (weird science?)
Environmental And Other Defense Activities
$500,000,000 - Defense Environmental Cleanup
$3,250,000,000 - Western Area Power Administration; $3,250,000,000 - Bonneville Power Administration
General Services Administration
$7,700,000,000 - Federal Buildings Fund; $600,000,000 - Energy Efficient Federal Motor Vehicle Fleet Procurement (no mention of buying only American cars)
Small Business Administration
$426,000,000 - Business Loans Program Account
Department Of Homeland Security
$100,000,000 - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (non-intrusive detection technology at sea ports of entry); $150,000,000 - Repair and Construct Inspections Facilities (at land border points of entry); $500,000,000 - Aviation Security; $150,000,000 - Coast Guard, (alteration of bridges); $200,000,000 - FEMA, Emergency Food & Shelter
Department Of The Interior
$500,000,000 - Bureau of Reclamation, Water and Related Resources; $325,000,000 - Bureau of Land Management, Construction (for priority road, bridge and trail repair or decommissioning); $300,000,000 - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Construction (for priority road and bridge replacement and repair); $1,700,000,000 - National Park Service Construction; $200,000,000 - National Mall Revitalization Fund (half of that requires matching private funds); $100,000,000 - National Park Service Centennial Challenge (signature projects and programs); $200,000,000 - U.S. Geological Survey for Surveys, Investigations and Research; $500,000,000 - Bureau of Indian Affairs, Construction; $800,000,000 - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Hazardous Substance Superfund; $200,000,000 - EPA, Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund Program; $8,400,000,000 - State and Tribal Assistance Grants ($6 bln, Clean Water State Revolving Funds; $2 bln, Drinking Water State Revolving Funds; $300 mil, Title VII, Subtitle G, Energy Policy Act of 2005; $100 mil, Comprehensive environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980)
Department Of Health And Human Services (HSS)
$550,000,000 - Indian Health Service; $2,188,000,000 - Health Resources and Services; $462,000,000 - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Disease Control, Research and Training; $1,500,000,000 - National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Center for Research Resources; $1,500,000,000 - NIH, Office of the Director; $500,000,000 - NIH, Buildings & Facilities; $700,000,000 - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; $400,000,000 - Discretionary Funds, Secretary of HHS (Tom Daschle won't have to pay taxes on this); $1,000,000,000 - Administration for Children and Families, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance; $2,000,000,000 - Payments to States for the Child Care and Development Block Grant; $3,200,000,000 - Children and Families Services Program; $200,000,000 - Administration on Aging, Aging Services Programs; $2,000,000,000 - Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology; $900,000,000 - Public Health & Social Services Emergency Fund (three parts for advanced R&D, prepare for influenza pandemic, improve IT at the Department of HHS); $3,000,000,000 - HHS Prevention and Wellness Fund
Department Of Education
$13,000,000,000 - Education for the Disadvantaged; $100,000,000 - Impact Aid (Title VII of the elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965); $1,000,000,000 - School Improvement Program; $200,000,000 - Innovation and Improvement; $13,000,000,000 - Special Education (ref. IDEA, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act); $16,126,000,000 - Student Financial Assistance; $50,000,000 - Student Aid Administration; $100,000,000 - Higher Education; $250,000,000 - Institute of Education Sciences; $14,000,000,000 - School Modernization, Renovation, and Repair; $6,000,000,000 - Higher Education Modernization, Renovation, and Repair; $79,000,000,000 - State Fiscal Stabilization Fund
Corporation For National And Community Service
$160,000,000 - Operating Expenses; $40,000,000 - National Service Trust
Social Security Administration
$900,000,000 - Limitation on Administrative Expenses
$150,000,000 - Facilities Capital
National Foundation For The Arts And The Humanities
$50,000,000 - National Endowment for the Arts
Department Of Labor
$4,000,000,000 - Employment and Training Administration; $120,000,000 - Community Service Employment For Older Americans; $500,000,000 - State Unemployment Insurance and Employment Service Operations; $80,000,000 - Departmental Management; $300,000,000 - Office of the Job Corps
Department Of State
$276,000,000 - Administration of Foreign Affairs, Capital Investment Fund; $224,000,000 - International Boundary and Water Commission, U.S. and Mexico, Construction
Department Of Transportation
$3,000,000,000 - Federal Aviation Administration, Grants-in-Aid for Airports;
$30,000,000,000 - Federal Highway Administration, Highway Infrastructure Investment; $300,000,000 - Federal Railroad Administration, Capital Assistance for Intercity Passenger Rail Service; $800,000,000 - Capital and Debt Service Grant to the Railroad Passenger Corporation; $6,000,000,0000 - Federal Transit Administration, Transit Capital Assistance; $2,000,000,000 - Fixed Guideway Infrastructure Investment; $1,000,000,000 - Grants at the discretion of the Secretary of Transportation
Department Of Housing & Urban Development
$5,000,000,000 - Public & Indian Housing, Public Housing Capital Fund; $2,500,000,000 - Elderly, Disabled, and Section 8 Assisted Housing, Energy Retrofit; $500,000,000 - Native American Housing Block Grants; $1,000,000,000 - Community Planning & Development, Community Development Fund; $4,190,000,000 - Neighborhood Stabilization Activities (ACORN money here?); Community Development Fund; $1,500,000,000 - Home Investment Partnerships Program; $10,000,000 - Self-Help & Assisted Homeownership Opportunity Program; $1,500,000,000 - Homeless Assistance Grants; $100,000,000 - Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control, Lead Hazard Reduction
Whew! Boar-a-rama. Hog heaven.
Rest assured, though, that all these expenditures will be closely monitored to prevent fraud and wasteful spending. There's 198,400,000 allocated for Inspector Generals of federal departments and agencies. The Government Accounting Office will have another $25,000,000 to follow the money flowing from the swinery.
And, in case you're concerned about such things, breathe easy because, according to Sec. 1109. PROHIBITED USES:
None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in the Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, or swimming pool.
This, of course, does not apply to later mentioned "pools of first lien position 504 [SBA] loans sold to third-party investors." Only swimming pools.
In H.R.1 there is even a Blago Clause (SEC. 1112). No money is to be spent in Illinois as long as Blago is governor except by separate expressed approval from the State legislature. But that's a mute issue now. No Blago - no problem.
As for transparency, it's assured by SEC. 1221. "ESTABLISHMENT OF THE ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY BOARD." The Chief Performance Officer appointed by the President will chair the above mentioned Board and serve with six inspector generals and deputy secretaries of the Departments of Energy, HHS, Transportation, "and from other Federal departments and agencies to which funds are made available in the Act."
The Board's budget is $14,000,000. Their office space will be provided within the Executive Office of the President. There'll also be an Independent Advisory Panel (SEC. 1229) with five members chosen by President Obama. All on the up-n-up.
Here an oink, there an oink, everywhere an oink, oink.