Pelosi, Reid Share ‘Porker of the Year’ Honors
April 3, 2009 - 6:44 PM2008 was a year with so much pork, it took two lawmakers to share the distinction of "Porker of the Year."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have been named the 2008 “Porkers of the Year” by Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) because of their failures to pass any fiscal year 2009 appropriation bills during summer of 2008 as well as their roles in enabling the passage of this year’s $787 billion stimulus bill.
The CAGW, a non-partisan government watchdog group, said the Democratic duo lead during the entire voting period, “galvanizing public opinion and solidifying their primacy with a steady stream of extravagant fiscal exploits and unwelcome public pronouncements.”
“Although both leaders have garnered rotten reviews from CAGW as well as other taxpayer watchdogs for years, like all the truly committed abusers of tax dollars, they refused to rest on their proverbial laurels,” the group said in a statement.
“After their slacker period, and throughout early 2009, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid came roaring back when they were front and center in the legislative battle over President Obama’s so-called ‘stimulus bill,’ ginning up anxiety and fomenting panic among taxpayers at every opportunity in order to finally muster support for passage of the outrageous $787 billion plan,” the group added.
A representative with the CAGW said the winners were determined by an online vote during a five-week period. The list of candidates consisted of lawmakers who had been named “Porkers of the Month” at some point during 2008. Pelosi and Reid were listed together on the ballot because they shared “Porkers of the Month” honors in August 2008.
Other candidates included Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), Rep. John Micah (R-Fla.) and Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).
Nadeam Elshami, spokesman for Pelosi, attributed any of the speaker’s failures to pass appropriations bills last summer to Republicans stopping action in the Senate and to President George W. Bush. Elshami also said the speaker stands by February’s recovery act and believes it has been positively received by American taxpayers.
“The American people overwhelmingly support the recovery package and its effort to create jobs,” Elshami told CNSNews.com. “It was passed and signed into law. Communities all across the country are reaping the benefits.”
Requests for comment from Reid’s office were not returned to CNSNews.com.
Ryan Ellis, tax policy director at Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), told CNSNews.com that Pelosi and Reid both have track records of consistently voting for tax increases and against tax cuts.
According to ATR’s 2007 Congressional Scorecard, which measures the taxpayer friendly behavior of members of Congress, Pelosi received a score of five percent and Reid received a score of 15 percent.
Ellis said that based on Pelosi and Reid’s continued support for higher taxes and higher government spending this year, he does not expect their scores to be much different when the 2008 scorecard is released on April 17.
Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute, agreed with the results of the CAGW vote, but said that Pelosi and Reid’s chances to repeat in 2009 will be threatened by the actions of President Obama himself.
“Obama signed the omnibus bill into law with 9,000 earmarks, even after he made strong promises during the election to cut the number of earmarks to one-quarter of the level of the early 1990s,” Edwards told CNSNews.com. “He had a clear chance to send a message and he utterly failed.
“The porker of 2009, in my view, would be Obama so far,” he added.
Edwards said that if earmarking and similar fiscal behavior continues this year, it could be a major factor in whether Democrats retain control of Congress in the 2010 elections.
“The high level of earmarking will be one of the causes of the Democrats’ downfall if they lose in the 2010 elections,” he said. “Earmarks are as symbol that Washington is corrupt and fiscally mismanaged. They are a symbol of corruption and mismanagement.”
More than 4,300 people participated in the online vote, according to the CAGW.
Dodd and Moran finished in second and third place, respectively, for the dubious annual honor.
The CAGW says its “Porker of the Year” is a “dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.”