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Mr. James underestimates Congress’ willingness to spend

During his speech for the Plenary session of the Spring 2005 DLC Meeting, Mr. James acknowledged that GPO needed more funding to carry out its responsibilities, but expressed his belief that Congress was uninterested in expanding appropriations.

As a new Cato Institute report explains, the reality is that the President and Congress are expanding appropriations like there is no tomorrow. According to the report, “Even after excluding spending on defense and homeland security, Bush is still the biggest-spending president in 30 years.”

Surely the President and Congress could be persuaded to provide a penny a month for all Americans in order for us to have full access to the information we’ve already paid for with our tax dollars.

If you look at the Citizen’s Against Government Waste’s Pig book for 2005, you’ll find these projects that exceed $36 Million that meet one or more of these criteria:

* Requested by only one chamber of Congress;
* Not specifically authorized;
* Not competitively awarded;
* Not requested by the President;
* Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;
* Not the subject of congressional hearings; or
* Serves only a local or special interest.
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$42,750,000 for range enhancements for joint national training capability military operations on urbanized terrain facility at Twentynine Palms and $4,250,000 for Norton Air Force Base through the Office of Economic Adjustment. Norton was closed by the first round of Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC), and ceased most of its military operations by 1992.

$36,666,000 for procurement for the C-130J. According to the Associated Press in February 2005, “A 2004 report from the office of the inspector general of the Department of Defense rated the J model unsatisfactory and cited deficiencies in, among other things, its defensive systems.”

$200,000,000 added by the Senate for the Commodity Import Program (CIP) for Egypt. According to a 2004 Government Accountability Office report, “The CIP provides loans to Egyptian importers of U.S. goods and, through loan repayments, supplies funds to the government of Egypt. During fiscal years 1999-2003, about 650 Egyptian firms used the CIP to import $1.1 billion in U.S. products from approximately 670 U.S exporters. In a 2003 USAID survey, about two-thirds of CIP importers said that they would have imported U.S. goods without the program, but half said that it helped increase their firm’s production capacity and onethird said that it helped increase their firm’s employment levels.” Looks like a pyramid scheme to us.

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If we can afford to give $200 Million to a country with as dismal a human rights record as Egypt, why can’t we have $36M a year, or $50M for that matter, to make sure the job of discovering, describing, distributing, and preserving government information is done right?

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