Surprise! Congress is larding up the defense budget with miscellaneous taxpayer-funded boondoggles.

# $25,000,000 for the Hawaii Federal Health Care Network, added by Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).
# $23,000,000 for the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), added by Rep. John “Jack” Murtha (D-Pa.). This is the project over which Rep. Murtha threatened a colleague for challenging in the spring. Since 1992, more than $509 million has been used to fund NDIC, which is administered by the Department of Justice (DOJ.). Ironically, DOJ does not want the NDIC and has asked Congress to shut the agency down because the department believes the operations are duplicative.
# *$20,000,000 for historically black colleges and universities, added by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.).
# $5,000,000 for Project SOAR, added by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), and Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).
# *$5,000,000 for the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Paralympic Military Program, added by Reps. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.).
# $4,800,000 for the Jamaica Bay Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area added by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.). The Gateway National Recreation Area’s website describes the Jamaica Bay Unit as “a wealth of history, nature and recreation, from New York City’s first major airport and coastal fortifications to a wildlife refuge and pristine beaches.”
# *$3,000,000 for “The First Tee,” added by House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) The program’s mission, according to its website, is “To impact the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf.” First Tee won CAGW’s “The Taxpayers Get Teed Off” Oinker Award in 2004 for receiving $3 million in two separate appropriations bills.

The First Tee? I’m sure that it’s a swell project, and Clyburn can prove it by using his own money to finance it. What, he doesn’t have $3 million laying around for that? Well neither do I and I suspect that you don’t either. If you do, let’s talk.

CAGW has uncovered quite a few other ridiculous big ticket items in the defense bill that have nothing whatsoever to do with defense. Like $2 million for “brown tree snakes.” $1.6 million for a telescope. &c.

I have three words for Congress: Line item veto. And four more words: Now more than ever.