Pelosi on Pork Barrel Spending in CR Bill: ‘Why Are We Talking About This?'

Melanie Arter | October 17, 2013 | 1:48pm EDT
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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

( – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) asked why reporters were making an issue out of the additional spending that was added to the continuing resolution that re-opened the federal government and increased the debt limit.

“What difference does it make? Why are we talking about this? We’re talking about a bill that as I said last night, I’m not asking anybody to vote for this bill on the merits,” Pelosi said.

The bill included funds to fix flooded roads in Colorado, $3 million for a civil liberties oversight board, a death benefit payment to the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s (D-N.J.) widow, as well as an increase in authorization for spending on construction on the lower Ohio River in Illinois and Kentucky, the Hill reported.

“My members have some of the same questions, not certainly in terms of the death penalty to the Lautenberg family, but when you have a CR, it is an appropriation, and this, yes would be the normal place for them to do that,” Pelosi said, adding that it was consistent with what would be in a continuing resolution.

Instead of focusing on pork barrel spending, Pelosi said the focus should be on the fact that the bill will allow the Treasury to borrow money through February, when “it should be at least one year.” She also objected to the amount of government spending that the bill allows – a figure that was below what Democrats wanted.

“So if you want to have an objection to the bill, there are bigger things to object to, but the fact is that we had to open government,” she said.

Pelosi told reporters to question Senate leadership about it, adding that she had her own “ongoing concerns” about the way the Senate handles issues like this.

“You’ll have to talk to them about what’s in the bill and what its purpose was, but what I said on the floor, I’m not pinning a rose on the bill, but I am voting for it, because we have to open government,” she said.

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