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Tag: earmarks


“Religious pork”: Group questions Dicks’ earmark to Tacoma Rescue Mission

A nonpartisan nonprofit that hails itself as “a religious liberty watchdog group” has cited a $350,000 federal budget appropriation to the Tacoma Rescue Mission among 10 earmarks nationwide that “raise constitutional issues about inappropriate public funding of religion.”

In a press release dated Thursday, Americans United for Separation of Church and State noted it has sent letters to Obama administration officials requesting they investigate the earmarks to ensure they’re constitutional.

“We ask that you carefully investigate these earmarks and that you impose any restrictions necessary to ensure that the earmarks satisfy all legal requirements,” the press release quotes the group’s Senior Litigation Counsel, Alex Luchenitser, as writing to administration officials.

David Curry, executive director of the rescue mission, largely dismissed the group’s concerns as misplaced while explaining to me in a phone call today why the funding is legal.

“Occassionally, someone will bring something like this up,” Curry said. “We’re a faith-based organization and have been for 98 years. We provide humanitarian assistance, but there’s no religious or faith requirement to receive any service we offer. To me it’s a non-issue.”

Originally requested by Democrat Congressman Norm Dicks, the 2010 budget appropriation approved by Congress will help the mission build “The Adams Square Family Center,” a facility with 36-units of housing to shelter homeless families and provide them with various services, according to Curry and Dicks’ website.

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Fort Lewis big beneficiary of Dicks’ earmarks

If you don’t read the print edition, you may have missed Les Blumenthal’s Sunday piece on Congressman Norm Dicks and earmarks, the mechanism by which members of Congress can direct spending outside the normal budget process.

The 6th District Democrat came out largely unscathed from a congressional ethics inquiry into the relationship between campaign contributions from a defense lobbyist and earmarks. As he assumes the gavel for the powerful defense budget subcommittee, Dicks is now supporting a ban on earmarks for private companies.

Dicks and Sen. Patty Murray are the undisputed earmark king and queen of the

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Pork, by any other name, but these earmarks sure are interesting

I am loathe to give U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., any more ink than she deserves, mostly because she’s up for reelection in 2010 and her PR office has been cranking out one news release after another to let all of you voters know how effective she is.

That said, I’m making an exception in this case, just because the “pork” that Murray is announcing for various private companies and military installations all over Washington State is truly interesting.

And it’s interesting to see that we have companies in Washington that do some pretty interesting things with all money the federal government is giving them. To wit: positron research, ways to restore hearing loss for vets (those assigned to artillery units, for instance. Can you hear me, First Mike?), counter drug training at Camp Murray and money for Madigan Army Medical Center so its medical staff can practice emergency medicine to better prepare them to handle such cases in a wartime environment.

Take a gander below….

Murray Secures Millions in Job-Creating Defense Spending for Washington State in Critical Bill

Funding will create family wage jobs and help Washington state remain at the forefront of technology, research, and innovation

(Washington, D.C) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has included $63 million in federal defense work for Washington state companies in the Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Appropriations bill. Murray, who serves on the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, helped pass the bill out of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee today.

“This spending will create good jobs in Washington state and help our armed forces get the cutting-edge military equipment they need and deserve,” said Senator Patty Murray. “Washington state companies are at the forefront of research and innovation, and these contracts will give them the resources they need to continue developing new ways to keep our service members and country safe. The spending I have included in this bill will provide a critical boost to the economy, and it will make a strong investment in research, technology, and innovation in Washington state.”

Washington state projects:
Positron Capture and Storage
Recipient: Washington State University
Amount: $3,000,000
Location: Pullman, WA

This funding would expand research for the Army into positrons, a new, non-nuclear energy source. This would advance cutting edge research with potential applications in fields ranging from space travel to medical diagnostics.
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