Congress Gives $90,000 Handout to Cowgirl Hall of Fame

Apparently rodeo folks aren't proud enough of their cowgirl heritage to pony up the money themselves for their Cowgirl Museum. Or, is it just that they are only to happy to wait for the free handouts and save their energy for pounding on horses and slamming down calves at their cruelty contests?

From the Associated Press, by Suzanne Gamboa, February 14, 2003:

Congress kicks in $90,000 for Cowgirl museum

WASHINGTON (AP) - The overdue $397.4 billion compromise spending package includes millions of dollars for Texas transit systems, roads and hospitals as well as $90,000 for Fort Worth's cowgirl museum.

Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth, snared the $90,000 for the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. The private, non profit museum plans to use the money to develop an audio tour of the museum in English and Spanish, Granger said.

Watch the 'Ending Earmarks Express' expose this ridiculous waste of taxpayer dollars.

"If you are from where I am from, Cowtown, it makes sense," said Granger, referring to the Fort Worth's nickname.

"Absolutely we need to be looking at priorities ... Life does go on, however, and this museum has been long in planning. It's important to educate people about what women had to do in taming the west and in history," Granger said.

Granger also was able to get included in the bill $3.41 million for four Trinity River flood control and development projects.

Debate over drought aid and education spending delayed this year's spending plan. The House passed the measure Thursday night and the Senate was expected to do the same on Friday, which would then send the bill to President Bush.

The package is billions of dollars more costly than what Bush wanted but he has said he would sign it.

A spokeswoman at the cowgirl museum was not immediately available, but the song played for callers put on hold seemed fitting: "Without your contribution, life wouldn't be the same. Hitch your wagon to the Cowgirl Hall of Fame," the recording said.

But Keith Ashdown, policy vice president for Taxpayers for Common Sense, said government funding of things like the cowgirl museum are cluttering the budget and preventing agencies from getting money they need. Appropriations for specific projects in the budget are generally referred to as earmarks.

"The amount may be small, but it really is an example of pork barrel spending and earmarking out of control," Ashdown said.

He said the spending package is likely to contain a lot of earmarks because Congress failed to approve 11 of the 13 government spending bills for 2003 last session and is now passing them as a single omnibus spending bill.

"All the lawmakers were holding up their hand saying this bill is going to be fiscally responsible and they've gone out and porked out again," Ashdown said. "In a time when we're going to have to spend billions on war in Iraq and have to figure out how to balance the budget, this is insulting."

Rep. Martin Frost, D-Arlington, also criticized the spending plan. He said the 3,000-page compromise bill was not filed until 6 a.m. Thursday and only one copy was provided to House Democrats. Usually, Frost said, committee members have time to explain details of areas of the spending plan.

"Today, the vast, vast majority of members will have no opportunity to even read the budget for this year. That's the definition of fiscal irresponsibility," Frost said.

The bill, for the budget year that began Oct. 1, would increase spending over last year for schools, border and immigration agents, biomedical research, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and battling AIDS in Africa and elsewhere overseas.

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