Republicans blasted the apparent self-serving hypocrisy of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week over $200 million in pork earmarked in the massive House $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill for the Presidio Park in her San Francisco district.
“Their deficit spending proposals saddle future generations with insurmountable debt in order to give Nancy Pelosi things like a $200 million earmark,” Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR), House Natural Resources Committee ranking member, proclaimed on Thursday during the mark-up of the bill, according to The Washington Times.
A House Republican committee aide asserted that the “American taxpayer should not be expected to foot the bill for Speaker Pelosi’s partisan wish lists.”
“While thousands of Gulf Coast residents are without power or water, homes and wildlife across the American West are in the paths of catastrophic wildfires, historic drought is wreaking havoc on farm and ranch lands, and illegal immigrants continue trampling sensitive ecosystems along the southern border, it’s extremely telling that committee Democrats are choosing to prioritize slush funds like the Presidio payout instead of any one of the very real crises our country is facing daily,” stated the aide.
Republicans started using the #PelosiPresidioPayout hashtag and decried the Democrats for using the resolution as “slush funds for partisan pet projects, including a $200 million taxpayer-funded payout for San Francisco courtesy of @SpeakerPelosi” on social media.
— Natural Resources GOP (@NatResources) August 31, 2021
The line item for the Presidio Trust, which oversees and manages the scenic 1,500-acre historic park on the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, was found nestled in the reconciliation proposal. The trust ironically claims that it is “charged with operating the park without taxpayer support.” Pelosi rallied support to create the Presidio Trust when the park morphed from a military installation to a landmark in the 1990s.
“I’m a regular at the Presidio,” Pelosi told the Nob Hill Gazette in an interview. “It’s just so beautiful to walk and see the bridge and then walk back and see the city.”
Pelosi is claiming that the earmark is part of a backlog of $400 million needed to maintain the park.
“To help meet the needs of this incredibly popular national park in this difficult financial moment, the House Natural Resources Committee chose to include a recommendation of $200 million to bolster the Presidio Trust, which can be used to immediately tackle deferred maintenance needs as well as continue the rehabilitation of the remaining historic buildings,” a Pelosi spokesperson remarked. “Sadly, it’s clear Republicans would rather play politics than preserve our national treasures.”
“The $200 million Presidio pork in the Reconciliation Bill is just a really good reminder of hypocrisy on energy issues,” noted Western Energy Alliance’s president, Kathleen Sgamma, in an email.
She pointed out the fact that royalties from oil and natural gas development provide $2.8 billion in annual conservation and parks funding, but regardless of that fact, “Democrats are pushing a bill that’s so punitive it threatens to kill that revenue source while borrowing from future generations for a park in Speaker Pelosi’s district.”
Committee Republicans are attempting to remove the earmark but Democrats have been voting down most of their amendments to the bill. The legislation in the end will tally up to approximately $5 trillion and the GOP contends it will result in massive tax hikes to fund the pet projects of the Democrats. Pelosi wants mark-ups completed by September 15 so they can ram the bill through.
(Video Credit: EWTN)
Westerman sought to postpone the mark-up session due to the deadly Hurricane Ida that hit Louisiana. Rep. Garret Graves, who is from the state, was having severe trouble keeping an internet connection so he could participate.
“Mr. Chairman, this isn’t political. Just stop,” Graves demanded. “We have people that have died right now, we have people that are trying to live in homes without roofs, homes that have fallen down, and you’re sitting here doing a mark-up to spend however many gazillion dollars you want to spend?”
He claimed the session was “just really ill-timed, it’s insensitive, it’s not paying attention to the realities on the ground,” and it’s “just stupid.”
U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) said he had “beyond empathy” for Louisiana residents hit by the storm but they were moving ahead with the session regardless.
“As we separate the debate that needs to happen over reconciliation, and what those priorities are or should be, we hope that we are making some consequential investments in preventing the worst from happening in the future,” he disingenuously remarked.
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