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Editorial: Stop the Senates Pork Barrel P(l)ayoff

This Sunday, while tens of millions of Americans are cheering on their teams in the NFL playoffs, a far more serious, and potentially costly, contest will be waged on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

There, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will be taking advantage of the pigskin diversion to raid the U.S. Treasury for more than $10 billion tax dollars to be spent on his and his Democrat cronies' most shameless pork barrel flimflams. And the only person standing between him and gold line will be Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, whom Mr. Reid derisively calls “Dr. No.”

Perhaps, however, “Dr. Know” might be a more fitting sobriquet -- because Mr. Coburn seems to know far better than most that the American people are in no mood to watch Congress waste billions of additional tax dollars at a time when everyone else is being forced to tighten their belts to the last notch.

And make no mistake about it, Mr. Reid's omnibus pork barrel bill is a glaring example of waste at its worst. Included in the bill's pet provisions are:

• $1 billion for a California water project designed to save 500 salmon – which would make each salmon worth far more than its weight in gold.
• $1 million annually for a five-year Wolf Compensation and Prevention Program to find non-lethal ways to deal with the wolves the federal government reintroduced into the state.
• $12 billion for the Smithsonian Institute to build a greenhouse in Maryland in order to preserve its orchid collection.
• $3 million in start-up funds for a road to nowhere through the Alaskan wilderness (exact route not yet determined) that could cost $17 to $34 million in order to complete.
• $5 million for botanical gardens in Hawaii (which boasts more flora per acre than any other state in the U.S.) and Florida (whose name is the Spanish word for “full of flowers.”

Harry Reid is attempting a cynical end run around the American people with the wrong bill, at the wrong time, aimed at the wrong projects, for woefully wrong reasons. With the country facing trillion-dollar deficits, as President-Elect Obama says, for years to come, now is not the time to ladle out the pork at the peoples' expense.

Concerned citizens should flood their Senators' offices now (202-224-3121 is the central switchboard number) in support of Sen. Coburn and in the strongest possible opposition to the Reid omnibus pork barrel bill. Then, we all can watch Sunday's playoff games on TV knowing we're not being gamed in Washington as well.


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