Raining Money............

John A. Quayle blueoval at SGI.NET
Mon May 19 22:09:46 MDT 2003

Sen. Bob Byrd and Reps. John Conyers and Henry Waxman are Porkers of the
Month for May '03

         (Washington, D.C.) -- Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW)
today named Senator Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.), and Representatives John
Conyers (D-Mich.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) its May 2003 Porkers of the
Month for their criticism of President George W. Bush's trip to the
aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the coast of California.

The hypocrites have landed:
    * Pork-barrel projects brought home to West Virginia by Sen. Byrd in
2003: $298 million;
    * A new office space in the U.S. Capitol for Sen. Byrd: $150,000;
    * Rep. Conyers' 2001 Congressional government waste vote rating: 15
    * Rep. Waxman's 2001 Congressional government waste vote rating: 16
    * GAO investigation into President Bush's trip to the USS Abraham
Lincoln: "Does not pass a cost-benefit test;"
    * The Commander-in-Chief visiting 5,000 sailors who have been out to
sea for 10 months, fighting for their country: priceless.
         On May 2, President Bush, a former Air National Guard pilot,
arrived by Navy jet on the carrier to give a nationally televised address
concerning the successful military campaign against Iraqi dictator Saddam
Hussein.  Soon afterward, Sen. Byrd and Reps. Conyers and Waxman publicly
criticized the trip as a wasteful and unnecessary political stunt.  They
claimed it would have been less expensive to take a helicopter than a jet,
and that the carrier delayed its landing in San Diego for a day to allow
the President to visit.  The Navy noted that the ship was not due until the
May 3 and to land early would have inconvenienced all the military families
waiting for their loved ones.  It also turns out that the President's
helicopter and the jet cost nearly the same amount per hour, and the jet is
clearly faster.  These conclusions were verified after Conyers and Waxman
demanded that the General Accounting Office (GAO) launch an investigation
into the cost of the trip.  The head of GAO David Walker said he would not
take up their offer since it would take too long and cost more than the
trip itself.

         While the presidential travel budget should be examined more
closely, President Bush's trip to the Lincoln was all of 30 miles off the
cost of California.  It has been common for presidents of both parties to
travel to locations around the world, in order to deliver a speech.  Some
of these trips are open to question.  But that's not the case when the
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces chooses to visit an aircraft carrier
to announce the victory in Iraq and salute our military.  Over their 10
months at sea, in addition to putting their lives at risk, many sailors on
the Lincoln missed births, deaths, and weddings.  The President's trip was
a worthwhile acknowledgment of their hard work and sacrifice.

         It is clear that Sen. Byrd and Reps. Conyers and Waxman have let
partisanship get in the way of patriotism.  In the past, members of both
parties and their staffs have made tailhook landings on carriers located
throughout the world.  Since the beginning of this year, 12 members of
Congress have done so, including a trip to a carrier in the Mediterranean Sea.

         For their hypocritical stance against President Bush's aircraft
carrier landing, Sen. Robert Byrd, and Representatives John Conyers and
Henry Waxman are Porkers of the Month for the month of May.

Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization
dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.

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