A grifter is defined by urbandictionary.com as a: someone who swindles you through deception or fraud, and b: a grifter is an expert in illicit acquisition of goods or services through various methods of over confident flim-flammery and fast talking. Apparently several members of Congress today fit both definitions of the term grifter, as outlined above. Senator John McCain took to the floor of the United States Senate today to call out the unauthorized spending, waste, and pay-for-play disservice to the American taxpayer that was slid into the current 2012 defense spending bill. This is where the term Big Government Grifter comes into play.
The Maverick Really Gets Fired Up! Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was livid about the wasteful spending he discovered that was tucked into the defense spending bill, and repeatedly slammed his fist down on the podium in an expression of utter disgust as he gave his floor speech today. The text of the entire speech is available here, and the following are just a few examples of exactly what was also mentioned in this article on the current omnibus spending bill also being rammed through Congress this week:
Mr. President, I come to the floor today to discuss the Fiscal Year 2012 Omnibus Appropriations bill that the House just passed this afternoon and the Senate will vote on tomorrow. Once again, the Senate is faced with a thousand-plus page behemoth of an appropriations bill and very little in the way of authorizations to support it. So here we are, at the end of another calendar year, cramming what should be months of actual debate and legislating into hours of reckless appropriating.
As was detailed in this CDN article, this points to a pattern of being done by design to avoid any forms of Congressional accountability and transparency. In a statement that backs that theory up, Senator McCain called upon Senator Coburn today to bring to light the fact that Congress is currently severely cutting funding to the Government Accountability Office in 2012. The GAO is the non-partisan watchdog that helps the government weed out waste and fraud to protect the taxpayers. The current planned cuts for the 2012 budget will result in a total of 400 less employees at the GAO.
Here are some bullet points from Mr. McCain’s Senate floor speech today:
So let’s compare last years omnibus debacle to this years:
• “Last year – 1,924 pages. This year – 1,221 pages.
• “Last year – all 12 annual appropriations bills. This year – nine of the annual appropriations bills.
• “Last year – over $1.1 trillion in spending. This year – over $915 billion in spending or $1.043 trillion if you include the three bills we’ve already passed. That works out to be a reduction of 5% from last year to this year. Taxpayers get a better deal at a Macy’s Christmas sale.
• “Last year – 6,488 earmarks totaling nearly $8.3 billion. This year – no traditional “earmarks” but over $3.5 billion in unauthorized spending in DoD alone.
“So should we consider this progress? Are we doing anything differently? The national debt is now at the record level of over $15 trillion, which is more than $48,000 per citizen, yet we have failed to make any significant, meaningful spending cuts and we continue with business as usual.
Senator McCain went on to outline how the whole appropriations process is fundamentally flawed today. “We have a fundamental problem in the Senate, Mr. President, of being unable to engage in the process of authorizing prior to regular appropriations. And what is the outcome? A handful of appropriators and unelected staffs disburse hundreds of billions of dollars, often in a manner that directly contravenes the will of the authorizers. Consequently, at the 11th hour of the process, we ram through an omnibus measure so that we can get out of town for the holidays. It’s disgraceful Mr. President.”
Mr. McCain goes on to show us how unauthorized spending has been injected into the defense spending bill through this rushed-through omnibus bill they are now being forced to pass.
This omnibus contains a number of objectionable provisions: (shortened versions)
Guam is getting earmarks of $33 million U.S. taxpayer dollars for 53 civilian school buses,and a cultural artifacts depository. (museum) Sen. McCain added, “I can only say that the many citizens of Arizona who are out of work, whose homes have been lost due to the economic downturn, who would benefit from any sort of action by the Federal Government to create jobs and ease their burdens, feel nothing but outrage when they see this kind of blatant waste and abuse of the political system that has gone on for years and years and years. But that’s not the end of this sad story. Within this initial funding grant to Guam of $33 million is $9.6 million for the first phase of a mental health facility that advocates claim is somehow related to the proposed military buildup on Guam. I’m still trying to sort this argument out, but I have that odd feeling that to do so I must go down the rabbit hole to Alice in Wonderland.
And Senator McCain was just getting wound up in the first 10 minutes of today’s floor speech, to which he added about the Guam mental health facility to be built with U.S. Taxpayer dollars: “And, of course, this $9.6 million dollars of pork in the FY12 Defense Appropriations bill is only the down payment, the ‘nose of the camel under the tent’ you might say, because to complete the facility as required to satisfy the already existing federal injunction against Guam, another $33 million will be required next year in 2013 to finish out the project as well as building a new public health laboratory. Wonderful!”
Senator McCain went on to mention the Tea Party and how fed-up Americans are with these kinds of Big Government Grifters that are doing this kind of wasteful, reckless spending:
The American people have seen this kind of abuse and waste for far too often, and they have had enough of it. They are convinced Congress never learns. And by this example, it’s hard to say they are wrong. In fact, this sort of complete waste and abuse of the taxpayers’ money proves they are exactly right.”
To which he added: “If you don’t understand the rise of the Tea Party, you can start by looking right here.”
The second half of Senator McCain’s Senate floor speech was just as informative as the first half as he laid out such things as other provisions. “The Defense portion of the Omnibus contains some $3.5 billion in unrequested, unauthorized spending for items that are not core, high-priority Defense requirements. As you will see, Mr. President, many old favorites appear on the list.” Again, I urge all concerned citizens to check the complete list of waste, fraud, and taxpayer abuse found in the latest omnibus bill, brought to you by the Big Government Grifters of Congress, and outlined on Senator McCain’s website.
Footnote: How ironic is this fact? Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) Is on the House floor giving a speech right now, saying how wonderful the tireless staff on the House Appropriations Committee have been while working on this omnibus bill. Mr. Rogers is the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Maybe he should give Senator John McCain a call and have a discussion about just how wonderful this pork-laden, fraud-upon-the-taxpayers omnibus truly is for the U.S. Taxpayer.