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Pork Barrel Politics

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on 11 November 2014

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Transcript of Pork Barrel Politics

Pork Barrel Politics
Justin Lynch, Danielle Epstein, Mike Liskov
Definition of Pork Barrel Politics
Criteria for "Pork" Spending
According to Citizens Against Government Waste, there are 7 criteria for spending to be qualified as pork:
1. Requested by only one chamber of Congress
2. Not specifically authorized
3. Not competitively awarded
4. Not requested by the President
5. Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding
6. Not the subject of Congressional hearings
7. Serves only a local or special interest

Dictionary Definition: A slang term used when politicians or governments "unofficially" undertake projects that benefit a group of citizens in return for that group's support or campaign donations. This spending mostly benefits the needs of a small select group despite the fact that the entire community's funds are being used.
In normal words: The Allocation of money for projects/bills that only serve to benefit one specific person or area with no approval by Congress, President, or other government officials.
What Are Earmarks?
A legislative provision that directs approved funds to be spent on specific projects, or that directs specific exemptions from taxes or mandated fees.
Insert Info About Earmarks
Lead into Pork Barrel
What's The Difference?
-"Earmarks" and "pork barrel" are often used synonymously, but they have different meanings
-Earmarks have many different points of view, and are meant to be unbiased, while pork barrels represent one person's opinion
Summary: Earmarks include many different points of view, and are meant to be unbiased (ex. news reporters, encyclopedias). However, they often work to support a cause that does not need attention.
Some Crazy Examples of Pork
$17 million for the International Fund for Ireland (IFI). According to information on IFI's website, the program was established in 1986 to promote economic and social advance between nationalists and unionists throughout Ireland. Interestingly enough, in 2009 former Irish Ambassador to the United States Sean Donlon called the current political and security situation in Northern Ireland "stable."
History of Pork Barrel Politics
The term "pork barrel" comes from the 1800s when a barrel of salt pork was a common household item
It became derogatory in the South where slave owners would give their slaves a barrel of pork and have them fight over it
Other Examples
Edward Everett Hale
1863 - First reference to "pork" in Congress
-$2.5 million spent on potato research, some was supposed to go to "competitive potato breeding research program"
- $693,000 spent for beef improvement, supposed to help cattle breed more frequently
-$500,000 spent for brown tree snake control, altogether more than $15 million has been spent towards this cause
Gravina Island Bridge
M1 Abrams Tanks
Other Examples
-$1.8 million spent on studying why pigs have their smell
-$10 million spent on "traffic needs," actually worked to connect a dead end street to a highway
-About $250,000 spent to teach college students how to watch TV
Earmarks Today
-Congress began to place limits on earmarks 3 years ago, yet they still find ways to work around restrictions.
-11,900 earmarks were passed last year
-House and Senate members have found new ways to support their districts

There are two types: Hard Earmarks and Soft Earmarks
Hard are written into law and are legally binding
Soft are written into congressional committee reports and although not binding are often treated as if they are
Full transcript