One Influential Member of Congress Gets the Picture

September 21, 2005

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has come forward to say that she is willing to give up the $70 million in federal transporation spending headed for her area in order to fund New Orleans. As today’s San Francisco Chronicle explains:

House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco said Tuesday she was willing to return to the federal Treasury $70 million designated for San Francisco projects in the new highway and transportation bill and use the money to help pay for Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts.

Her counterpart, House Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said that while he would consider cutting all other domestic discretionary spending to raise the tens of billions of dollars needed for Katrina relief, it was a bad idea to take money from transportation projects.

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We commend Ms. Pelosi for her understanding that scarcity exists in government spending and of the number one rule in economics (which is often ignored in politics) that there is no such thing as a free lunch. We hope others will follow her lead and call for spending cuts elsewhere, instead of following the path toward higher taxes that others are suggesting.

During this process of members of Congress identifying what they are willing to give up in order to fund New Orleans’ reconstruction, let’s hope it brings public attention to the wide array of pork-barrel handouts that occur annually at taxpayer expense.

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