Against common sense and sound budgeting practices, Congress last week passed the $1.5 trillion bill to keep the federal government in business.
As per the usual arrangement, the budget bill ran to 2,741 pages and was approved in roughly 24 hours.
Beyond its size in both terms of dollars and reams of paper, the bill was notable because it revived earmarks, the legislative term for pork-barrel spending.
At the conservative Daily Signal, a publication of the Heritage Foundation, they’ve dug through the mountain of spending and uncovered half-dozen woke initiatives.
Here is what they found: Massachusetts Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey got $995,000 for “Grid Resilience and Equity in the Energy Transition,” a research project at the University of Massachusetts. The funding is intended to promote a “fast and fair transition to a decarbonized energy system in the United States” by the Energy Transition Institute and a local utility company. The faculty director of this particular think tank once noted, “The current energy system is inequitable, not just overseas but here in the U.S. The energy system is racist.
Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown banked $500,000 for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, a museum in Cincinnati that relates the exploits of the Underground Railroad. While this is important U.S. history, the centers advocates for divisive left-wing policies that undermine democracy. These include the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which grants federal bureaucrats authority to override state election laws, and efforts to block the teaching of Critical Race Theory in schools.
Friends of Hockessin Colored School #107 Inc. is a nonprofit group that preserves the legacy of an all-black school that was notable in the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation case. But now, six decades after the school closed, its curators are getting $750,000, thanks to Delaware Democratic Sens. Chris Coons and Tom Carper, to make the site a center for “diversity, inclusion, and social equity.” It would host DEI events to shoot the breeze about topics like “ethnicities,” “gender identity and genetics,” “public safety and social justice,” and “social determinants of health.”
New York Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman landed $496,000 for “health equity” pool improvements in his district. This money goes toward “essential capital improvements” to YMCA pools. Bowman claims black and Hispanic children have “lower abilities” to swim than other ethnic groups. Said Bowman, “This project is essential for minimizing disparities in access to swimming lessons and aerobics, promoting health equity.”
Markey and Warren struck again with $500,000 for Worcester State University to boost “diversity and inclusion” for STEM students studying climate change. Warren noted, “This project would increase access and success for under-represented incoming college students.”
Finally, Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed of Rhode Island secured $1.6 million for Roger Williams University, which is focused on the “development of equitable growth of shellfish aquaculture in Rhode Island.” But the amount is actually more than triple what Whitehouse originally wanted.
“All of these earmarks were airdropped into the final spending bill with little transparency and without thorough vetting,” the Daily Signal noted.
“Furthermore, none of these earmarks have anything to do with carrying out the proper, limited roles of the federal government enumerated in the Constitution. This is just further proof that special-interest spending on local projects is in no way a valid tool for promoting Congress’ important Article I power of the purse.”
“Instead of this costly spending bill loaded up with pork projects,” the Signal continued, “Congress should reinstate the earmark ban and focus on using its spending power appropriately to fund the constitutional needs of the whole country while cutting wasteful and unnecessary spending and allowing Americans to keep more of what they earn.”