We need to make sure that emergency spending is for emergencies: things like the war in Iraq and natural disasters are truly emergency items. The Republicans in the Senate recently passed an emergency supplemental spending bill that included such "Eemergencies" as for the Mississippi Children’s Museum ($500,000) and farm and rancher subsidies ($3.9 million).
Mike Arcuri speaks out on March 15, 2007:
Today, U.S. Representative Michael A. Arcuri (D-Utica) outlined his strong support for The U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Health, and Iraq Accountability Act which would provide our troops with the equipment they need, require Iraqis to take control of their own country, establish benchmarks for withdrawal from Iraq, and help fight the war on terror in Afghanistan. The bill will provide $2.8 billion for veterans’ and troops’ health care.
Sadly, Mr. Arcuri's strongly held conviction about keeping emergency spending for emergencies didn't last past his election. His "strong support" included an endorsement of epic amounts of pork barrel spending, including:
$500 million for emergency wildfires suppression; the Forest Service currently has $831 million for this purpose;
$400 million for rural schools
$283 million for the Milk Income Loss Contract program
$120 million to compensate for the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the shrimp and menhaden fishing industries
$100 million for citrus assistance
$74 million for peanut storage costs
$60.4 million for salmon fisheries in the Klamath River region in California and Oregon
$50 million for asbestos mitigation at the U.S. Capitol Plant
$48 million in salaries and expenses for the Farm Service Agency
$35 million for NASA risk mitigation projects in Gulf Coast
$25 million for spinach growers
$25 million for livestock
$20 million for Emergency Conservation Program for farmland damaged by freezing temperatures
$16 million for security upgrades to House of Representatives office buildings
$10 million for the International Boundary and Water Commission for the Rio Grande Flood Control System Rehabilitation project
$6.4 million for House of Representative’s Salaries and Expenses Account for business continuity and disaster recovery expenses
$5 million for losses suffered by aquaculture businesses including breeding, rearing, or transporting live fish as a result of viral hemorrhagic septicemia
And on, and on, and on. None of which, by Mr. Arcuri's own admission, should have been included in this funding. Quite an accomplishment for a self-described "fiscal conservative".