to Nicholas Johnson's Coralville Rain Forest Web Site
Lipstick on a Pig
Earmarks, Pork and Federal
Host David Brancaccio
February 17, 2006
[Note: This material is copyright by the Public Broadcasting System and others. It is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of PBS.]
Congressman Jim Cooper [JC]: You will soon find out, as a freshman congressman, that if you play your cards right you probably have about $50 million every two years that you can hand out in one way or another for pork barrel projects.
Maria Hinojosa [MH]: $50 million just because I was elected?
JC: Yes. Individual congressional offices have become very similar to ATM machines, where if you know the code you can get money out of it.
MH: Congressman Jim Cooper, a fiscally conservative Democrat from Tennessee, is one of those voices for earmark reform. Topping his "best of pork" list? An indoor rain forest in Iowa; a $50 million earmark of Republican Senator Charles Grassley.
JC: The Wall Street Journal pointed out it would be cheaper to fly everyone in that town to a real rain forest instead of building a fake one on the prairie.
MH: Senator Grassley will say, "Look, it was going to create jobs. It was going to bring a kind of tourism to Iowa that maybe wouldn't come otherwise."
JC: You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still pork.
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