Congress must stop adding pork to critical legislation

The News issued a vitriolic condemnation of the Republican Party and House Speaker John Boehner for failing to call a vote for federal aid to states affected by Hurricane Sandy. Rep. Peter King and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also had harsh words for Congress, not surprising because of their frustration over the lack of action on behalf of their constituents.

The bill was not just about aid for those affected by the superstorm. Yes, the bill designated funds that are critically needed for those suffering from the hurricane. But the bill contained billions more in government spending for items not directly related to the clean-up, including funds for Alaskan fisheries, roof repairs for the Smithsonian and several other projects.

In a follow-up editorial, The News dismissed this practice as “a chronic congressional affliction.” I agree that Congress should “fulfill its duty to respond quickly to a natural disaster.” The News could have more effectively directed its outrage specifically toward those elected officials (Democrats or Republicans) who exploited the disaster by adding projects that expanded the scope of the bill and delayed action. It is those politicians who continue to undermine the role of Congress, add more to the federal debt and deny timely aid to needy Americans.

Patrick Heraty