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The Porky Congress: House Overrides Bush Veto of Water Projects Bill
What do they do? Keep swimming, swimming, swimming. Plus: Pelosi's waterfront earmark.
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I praised President Bush’s veto of the pork-laden water projects bill last week. As expected, it’s business as usual. The House overrode the veto earlier this evening. Triumph of the trough-stuffers:

A veto last week by President George W. Bush of a popular water projects bill was overridden by the House of Representatives on Tuesday, moving Congress closer to enacting legislation that would authorize $23 billion for nearly 900 projects across the United States.

The House voted 361-54 to override the president’s veto. The Senate is expected to take up the water bill as early as Wednesday.

If similar action occurs in the Senate, it would mark the first time Congress has mustered enough votes to override the president’s veto. Bush has vetoed five bills during his time in office…

…”We understand that members of Congress are going to support the projects in their districts. Budgeting is about making choices and defining priorities — it doesn’t mean you can have everything,” he said. “This bill doesn’t make the difficult choices; it says we can fund every idea out there.”

The Senate passed the bill, 81-12, in September after the House of Representatives approved it by 381-40 a month earlier, both with more than the two-thirds majorities needed to override a presidential veto.


The spending levels in H.R. 1495 are excessive. The final conference report of $23 billion was far more than the $14 billion and $15 billion price tags the Senate and House recommended in each of their respective bills and $18.1 billion more than the president requested. The final bill includes several pork projects that are outside of the mission of the Corps of Engineers, transfers billions of dollars in costs from non-federal projects to taxpayers, and adds to the backlog of projects already in the pipeline.

The conference report also contained numerous pork-barrel projects which were “air-dropped” in at the last minute, well after the House and Senate had voted on their respective versions. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) attempted to challenge $2 billion worth of earmarks that were added in conference, but was rebuffed because Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) interpretation of the new transparency and accountability rules permits senators to add pork with impunity to authorization bills such as WRDA.

Commenter Feebie asks if this is the same bill that has Speaker Pelosi’s waterfront earmark. Yup. Via the RSC blog:

On Speaker Pelosi’s website, it says the following about WRDA: The Water Resources Development Act of 2007 will provide critical funding to small communities that have gone too long without assistance. To these communities, the projects and studies authorized by this legislation will have equally beneficial impacts on public health, environmental quality, and economic vitality.

The Speaker has her own earmark in the bill (Sec 5054) that provides for the re-development of part of the San Francisco Waterfront. The Speaker, (and/or her husband) collects rent from four separate commercial real estate properties that are very close to the waterfront location that the earmark provides “critical funding” for. According to disclosure forms, these properties resulted in rental income as high as $3 million in 2005 for the Pelosi’s and could stand to benefit from improvement to the local neighborhood that the earmark supposedly provides.

*** UPDATE (5:15 PM) – Different version have the earmark(s) in SECTIONS 5050 and 5051 ****

The Pelosi properties, all located within 5,400 feet and 9,000 feet of the WRDA earmark are:

1301 Sansome LLC

Pelosi Real Estate Partnership

Rent Income: $1 million (2005)

945 Battery LLC

Pelosi Real Estate Partnership

Rental Income: $1 million (2005)

901 Battery LLC

Pelosi Real Estate Partnership

Rental Income: $15,000 (2005)

45 Beiden Place

Pelosi Real Estate Asset

Rental Incone: $1 million (2005)

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Democrats, George W. Bush, Pork