Thursday, January 15, 2009

Federal Agencies will Fatten-up on "Stimulus Package" Pork

The "economic stimulus package" Democrats are streamrolling through Congress, in a rush to make a rendezvous with Barack Obama on one of his first days in office, evidently will also serve as a stealth federal spending bill, with tens of billions of dollars going to fatten the coffers of federal agencies. dug into the bill and produced the following list of agency goodies, all tucked neatly away inside -- expenditures that should be funded as part of the normal budgeting and appropriations process.

President-elect Obama vowed that this would be an earmark-free bill, understanding that Americans would be even more repulsed by the glut of spending if members of Congress began piling their pet projects even higher on the gravy train. There are many definitions of "pork," however, and many different ways to serve it up. And this certainly has that tell-tale aroma.

Here's the report from Read it and weep.

Stimulus package contains billions of dollars for federal agencies

By Katherine McIntire Peters
January 15, 2009

Federal agencies stand to gain billions of dollars in funds if the economic stimulus package under consideration in Congress becomes law.

According to a summary of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill released on Thursday by the House Appropriations Committee, agencies would receive billions to repair and rebuild infrastructure, upgrade computer systems, repair environmental damage and improve energy efficiency. Billions more would be funneled through agencies to states and local governments in the form of grants. The following federal agencies would receive funds to directly enhance their facilities and operations:

Agriculture Department

$650 million for construction and improvements at National Forest Service facilities
$209 million for deferred maintenance at Agricultural Research Service facilities
$245 million to critical information technology improvements at the Farm Service Agency
$44 million to repair and improve security at USDA headquarters
$300 million for fire hazard reduction
$400 million for watershed improvement programs at the Natural Resources Conservation Service

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

$426 million to complete the agency's buildings and facilities master plan, and to renovate the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health offices

Defense Department

$350 million for research into using renewable energy to power weapons systems and military bases
$3.75 billion for new construction of hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers
$455 million in renovations to medical facilities
$2.1 billion for repairs to military facilities
$1.2 billion for new housing construction
$154 million to improve troop housing
$360 million for new child development centers
$400 million for new construction to support Guard and Reserve units
$4.5 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers for environmental restoration, flood protection, hydropower and navigation infrastructure (the committee noted the Corps' construction backlog is $61 billion)
$300 million to clean up closed military installations

Energy Department

$1.9 billion for basic research
$400 million for the Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy
$500 million for nuclear waste cleanup

Environmental Protection Agency

$800 million for hazardous waste cleanup at Superfund sites
$200 million to clean up leaking underground storage tanks
$100 million for competitive grants to clean up former industrial sites known as brownfields

General Services Administration

$6.7 billion for renovations and repairs to federal buildings, including at least $6 billion focused on increasing energy efficiency and conservation
$600 million to replace older vehicles with alternative-fuel vehicles

Health and Human Services Department

$900 million to prepare for pandemic flu, support medical countermeasures for weapons of mass destruction and cybersecurity

Homeland Security Department

$500 million for the Transportation Security Administration to install aviation explosive detection systems at airports
$150 million for the Coast Guard to repair or remove bridges deemed hazardous to marine navigation
$1.5 billion to construct GSA and Customs and Border Patrol land ports of entry to improve security and commerce

Housing and Urban Development Department

$2.5 billion for a new program to upgrade low-income housing to increase energy efficiency

Interior Department

$1.8 billion for the National Park Service for infrastructure projects
$325 million for the Bureau of Land Management for infrastructure projects
$300 million for the National Wildlife Refuges and National Fish Hatcheries
$400 million to address deterioration of the National Mall
$500 million to the Bureau of Reclamation to provide clean drinking water to rural areas (the committee noted the bureau has a backlog of more than $1 billion in rural water projects)
$500 million to the Bureau of Indian Affairs to address maintenance backlogs at schools, dams, detention and law enforcement facilities, and roads (the committee noted the bureau has a maintenance backlog at schools alone exceeding $1 billion)
$550 million to modernize facilities at the Indian Health Service


$600 million, including $400 million to put more scientists to work on climate change research, $150 million for research to improve aviation safety and Next-Generation air traffic control, and $50 million to repair NASA centers damaged by hurricanes and floods last year

National Institutes of Health

$2 billion, including $1.5 billion for expanding jobs in biomedical research and $500 million to implement the repair and improvement strategic plan developed for NIH campuses
$1.5 billion for NIH to renovate university research facilities

National Institutes of Standards and Technology

$300 million for competitive construction grants for research buildings at colleges and other organizations, and $100 million to coordinate research at labs and national research facilities by setting interoperability standards for manufacturing

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

$600 million for satellite development and acquisitions
$400 million for habitat restoration projects

National Science Foundation

$3 billion, including $2 billion for expanding employment opportunities in science and engineering to meet environmental challenges and improve economic competitiveness, $400 million to build major research facilities, $300 million for equipment, $200 million to repair and modernize facilities, and $100 million to improve instruction in science, math and engineering

Social Security Administration

$400 million to replace the 30-year-old National Computer Center
$500 million to process a steep rise in disability and retirement claims

State Department

$276 million to upgrade information technology platforms

U.S. Geological Survey

$200 million to repair and modernize science facilities and equipment

Veterans Affairs

$950 million for medical facilities (the committee noted there is a $5 billion maintenance backlog at the agency's 153 facilities)
$50 million to make monument and memorial repairs at veterans cemeteries

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