Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) released its 2021 Congressional Pig Book, the 29th edition of the group’s exposé on pork-barrel spending.
CAGW President Tom Schatz was joined in a virtual press conference on CAGW’s Facebook Live by Reps. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and Kevin Hern (R-Okla.). Pre-recorded video messages from Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Reps. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), and Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) were also aired.
2021 Congressional Pig Book facts:
The 2021 Congressional Pig Book exposes $16.8 billion in earmarks in fiscal year (FY) 2021, an increase of 5.7 percent from the $15.9 billion in FY 2020.
The $16.8 billion in FY 2021 earmarks is the largest amount since FY 2010.
For the ninth time since Congress enacted an earmark "moratorium" in fiscal year (FY) 2011, CAGW has unearthed earmarks in appropriations bills.
The increase in pork-barrel spending occurred behind closed doors and hidden from taxpayers. There are no names of legislators attached to each earmark and limited information on where and how the money will be spent.
Since 1991, CAGW has identified 111,702 earmarks costing taxpayers $392.5 billion.
$1.7 billion for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) for 17 unrequested F-35 aircraft. The JSF has been in development for nearly 20 years and is 10 years behind schedule, with total acquisition costs now exceeding $428 billion, nearly double the initial estimate of $233 billion, with lifetime operation and maintenance costs of approximately $1.727 trillion, making it the most expensive weapon system in U.S. history.
$65 million for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF), the same amount earmarked in the past three years, and tied for the largest earmark ever for this purpose. Each version of former President Trump’s Major Savings and Reforms recommended eliminating funding for the PCSRF because it favors state, local, and/or industry interests, and are "not optimally targeted … favor certain species and geographic areas over others," and do not direct funds to programs and projects that have "the greatest need or potential benefit."
$25 million for the aquatic plant control program, the largest amount ever earmarked for this program. Since FY 1994, there have been 27 earmarks worth a total of $119.1 million for aquatic plant control projects, which have been earmarked by Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).
$19.7 million for the East-West Center, the largest amount ever earmarked for the center and equal to 68 percent of its annual budget, added by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). This private organization should be privately funded, like its geographical counterpart, the North-South Center, which stopped receiving earmarks in 2001. Since 1977, Sen. Schatz and his predecessors have added 18 earmarks worth $197.2 million for the East-West Center.
CAGW President Tom Schatz said in a statement:
"In March, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and the House Republican Conference agreed to bring back corrupt, costly, and inequitable earmarks at a time when the nation’s spending is out of control. More than $5.7 trillion has been spent on COVID-19 ‘relief,’ a $2.25 trillion ‘infrastructure’ bill is going to be considered, and the national debt has reached more than $28 trillion. It is now more important than ever that Congress undertake every possible step to eliminate as much wasteful spending as possible during the ongoing recovery from the pandemic. The members of Congress who agreed to restore earmarks are willfully ignoring or have forgotten why this practice was first subject to the moratorium. The 2021 Congressional Pig Book is a must read and shows why bringing back earmarks is a slap in the face to every taxpayer."
Citizens Against Government Waste is the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.
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Alexandra Abrams (202) 467-5310