Porkulus revealed: conference notes
posted at 12:10 pm on February 12, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Michelle has the link to the notes from the Porkulus conference, and well … it’s about as bad as you’d imagine. I’m picking through the tables derived from the 1500-page bill that no one in Congress will read before casting their votes for the largest project bill in American history. To no one’s great surprise, the spending items expose Porkulus for exactly what it is — an omnibus spending bill that could have easily gone through the normal budgeting process.
Here are some of the lowlights I’ve found in the package:
- $550 million for a federal fleet of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
- $300 million for even more plug-in or “efficient” vehicles
- $300 million for “smart appliances”
- $13.9 billion for the Clean Energy Finance Authority (a lending mechanism for green energy projects)
- $8 billion for “high-speed rail grants” to states, which apparently includes Reid’s Vegas project
- $21.44 billion for “environmental” issues, none of which appears to have job creation in mind, including:
- Lead Paint Abatement ($100 million)
- EPA State revolving funds ($6 billion)
- USDA water loans and grants ($1.38 billion)
- DOE environmental management ($6 billion)
- $15 billion to “increase and protect affordable housing“
- $7.2 billion for expanding broadband coverage
- $15 billion for new Pell Grant funding
- $44 billion for education block grants
- $4.6 billion for “early childhood” programs
- $1.1 billion for “comparative effectiveness research”
Hot Air readers will note that the last item refers to the health-care mandates for approval on treatment by all American physicians. Arlen Specter and Jon Tester insisted that these provisions would be removed from Porkulus before voting for final passage. The money is still there to build the database necessary to impose federal control on all medical treatment in the US, using Tom Daschle’s top-down mechanism, complete with “penalties” for doctors who insist on providing life-saving treatments without Uncle Sam’s say-so.
I notice that $7 billion in DoD construction got cut. The conference managed to keep twice as much money to interfere in the housing market, which is what caused the economic meltdown in the first place, but took a pass on using money that would create jobs instead of more debt.
Not all of these programs are unworthy, but none of the above qualifies as either short-term stimulus or emergency issues. Porkulus is nothing more than an omnibus bill encompassing the wish lists of Democratic-linked special interests, much of which would fail to get through under regular order debate in either chamber of Congress. That’s why the Democrats, including Barack Obama, have gone on a scare-the-taxpayer public relations tour, attempting to divert attention from the details of this behemoth.