The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Thursday, September 22, 2005

Pork Update 

I just received an interesting unsolicited email from a member of Sen. Tom Coburn's staff:

At a press conference today at 1:30pm, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), along with Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Jim DeMint (R-SC), John Ensign (R-NV), John Sununu (R-NH), and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) will release a menu of specific options to find savings to pay for our Hurricane Katrina relief and recovery expenditures. In addition, Sen. Coburn will discuss how changes in the growth of non-defense, non-homeland security "discretionary" spending - combined with any number of specific outlined savings - can yield enough savings to pay for our efforts along the Gulf Coast.

Sen. Coburn will call for a freeze on non-defense, non-homeland security discretionary spending. Over two years, that alone would save $112 billion compared to our current spending path. Combined with any number of the different specific savings options, more than enough money can be saved to pay for our efforts along the Gulf Coast. In addition, Sen. Coburn will call on the president to veto any new spending bills that allow for increases in non-defense, non-homeland security spending.

I can only assume that the good Senator from Oklahoma and his staff have been paying attention to the porkbuster efforts in the blogosphere, and that's how my name ended up on an email list. I find this very encouraging. Keep it up!

The email also contained a PDF document which lists many options for trimming the budget significantly. Those options include freezing all discretionary spending, freezing non-defense and non-homeland security discretionary spending, allowing non-defense and non-homeland security discretionary spending to increase with inflation, or allowing them to increase with along with average annual growth, and lists the estimated savings for each option. It then goes on to cover various specific budget items that can be eliminated for even greater savings.

The term "non-defense and non-homeland security discretionary spending" actually interests me quite a bit here, because it was mentioned many times in the email. That's actually a pretty broad term, and I'm curious what sorts of items would be considered to be defense and homeland security discretionary spending. Depending on how you word things, a lot of pork can fit in that bucket too you know.

One of the more ironic items in the attached document was this:

Reduce or eliminate cost overruns at the Securities and Exchange Commission caused by
poor accounting controls.
1-YEAR SAVINGS: $47 million
5-YEAR SAVINGS: $235 million
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the nation's accounting watchdog, has
seen cost overruns of $47 million on its building projects. The SEC's building project costs, initially estimated to total $22 million, have instead tripled to $69 million. The implementation of effective accounting controls would not just yield savings from building projects - increased efficiencies across the agency have the potential to yield even greater savings and benefits.

Anyone else find it rather sad that the federal department charged with being a watchdog over companies that have had such a hard time keeping their books straight lately, can't keep their own book straight?

I've also sent emails to my Senators Kohl and Feingold, and to Rep. Sensenbrenner. I received an automated response from Sensenbrenner which made it seem like I would only receive a written response in the mail. You know Jim, how much money could you save by not over using your franking privileges and instead used email when appropriate? I'll update you if I get anything specific from anyone.

Update: Welcome Instapundit readers. Please be sure to visit my home page and take a look around, including the latest Carnival of the Badger.

Technorati: porkbusters


Any reason your link to "Coburn's" site links to Feingold?

  Posted at September 22, 2005 2:55 PM by Blogger Doug  
Ooops. Must've read the page in that intra-edit perid.


Carry on.

  Posted at September 22, 2005 2:56 PM by Blogger Doug  
Yes, that was a copy and paste error that I didn't catch til I edited later. I was hoping nobody would have noticed it. So much for that hope.

  Posted at September 22, 2005 2:59 PM by Blogger Nick  
Coburn also had some success this week with an amendment to limit pork.

See: Senator Coburn's Amendment: A small victory against pork

  Posted at September 23, 2005 11:51 PM by Blogger Porkopolis  
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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.

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