It is depressing to note that these self-styled “progressives” weren’t the worst of the offenders. (See above.) Their $485 million accounted for a paltry 16 percent of a whopping pork-barrel total of $3 billion. The budget bill contained 1,300 earmarks, sponsored by Republicans no less than Democrats, authorizing a variety of questionable no-compete projects in local districts. Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), chairman of the Appropriations Committee, sucked down $150 million in pork all by himself. Rep. Bill Young of Florida, the ranking Republican on the Appropriations defense subcommittee, sponsored $117 million in pork. The only mitigating factor is that Murtha and Young, along with most other Republican porkers, did not do their dirty work while condemning the Pentagon budget as being bloated and unnecessary. The House voted favorably on the defense money bill in August. The Senate steps up to the plate in September. Stay tuned.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.