Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Nancy Pelosi Bellies Up to the Trough

Pelosi delivers funds for projects aplenty:
The $388 billion spending bill soon to be sent to President Bush was a particularly rich one for Rep. Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco constituency, including several new cultural, educational and governmental institutions that are either under construction, want to expand or are a gleam in their planners' eyes.

Using her power as House minority leader, Pelosi tucked a long list of spending provisions for projects in her district into the bill that combined nine of the federal government's usual 13 spending bills into one 2-foot stack of paper presented to House and Senate members just hours before they voted on it Saturday.
In San Francisco, the list of nongovernmental recipients of Pelosi- provided largesse was topped by the University of San Francisco, which got $2.09 million to upgrade environmental studies and management programs. USF spokesman Greg McDonald said the money will go to improve science buildings and equipment. "It's excellent news for us,'' said McDonald, "and it's a happy coincidence,'' since USF is starting a new private campaign to raise capital.
Why does a Congressional spending bill have a line item grant direct to the University of San Francisco? Not to mention why the taxpayers are paying the tab in the first place.
Last year, USF got $1 million through Pelosi to help a new think tank on public service set up by former Lt. Gov. Leo McCarthy, Pelosi's longtime adviser and campaign treasurer.
I'm sure there was a crying need for another think tank. But this is the semi-legitimate stuff. How about:
Pelosi also got $591,000 for the proposed International Museum of Women at Pier 26. Backers of the $120 million project are trying to raise funds and hope the museum can open in 2008.

The Filipino Cultural Center that is planned for the new Bloomingdale's project at Fifth and Market streets got $388,000, and the effort to convert the Old Mint at Fifth and Mission streets into a city history museum received $300,000.
So what did Nancy say as she made off with the loot?
The long list of projects she brought home to San Francisco didn't stop Pelosi from criticizing the bill, mainly because the Republican majority didn't manage to bring up individual spending bills and debate them after members could analyze them.
What a crock. She just wants to debate 9 bills instead of 1, not the thousands of separate pork dishes. How about an debate on each of these line items? Aside from the pleasing sound of Nancy's whine when the debate got to the "proposed" International Museum of Women, the whole deal would take 8 months and keep the usual suspects out of circulation.
"This omnibus spending bill is unwieldy and not reflective of the aspirations and needs of the American people. Sadly, for the fourth time in the last five years, a massive omnibus bill is also the only option left on the table to fund the government for the next year,'' she said. "As such, it will have my reluctant support.''
I'm sure she was really sobbing her heart out.
Other Bay Area House members also got money for their districts, although nothing like Pelosi's long list.
Gosh, too bad!

Until direct grants to nongovernmental institutions are prohibited in spending bills, the gluttony will continue. Of course, then they'll find another way to raid the public purse.