How much pork-barrel spending would you tolerate before you vetoed/voted against a bill?

Thinking back to Hurricane Sandy disaster relief (although there was an argument that some of the “pork” was actually legit stuff,) and the upcoming $2 trillion infrastructure bill which will surely have a lot of pork tucked away in it:

At what point would you (you being a Senator or president) vote against a bill for something that you would otherwise support, such as disaster relief or much-needed infrastructure or healthcare reform, due to the sheer amount of pork contained therein (and specifically, pork by and for the opposing political party)?

Voted for “wouldn’t veto” pork barrel stuff for the most part is just other stuff that is also needed.

Too many unspecified details for any single answer. It depends on how important the bill is, and on what sort of pork is attached, and on the relative strengths of the parties (and thus how easy it would be for them to pass a clean bill). In fact, some pork projects would make me more likely to support a bill.

the problem is one mans pork is someone’s else’s bike route or park or reading program… like there was a rather notorious Alaskan senator that would put in every project he could think they needed/wanted every chance he got
there was a big story on a “transportation station/depot” he got funded that was going to be physically huge costs a few million dollars and be build due to stand the winters up there

it did get built just was scaled back somewhat …

To someone down here it seemed like a ripoff vanity project to the people who use it well they didnt freeze to death waiting for the bus/train and such …

Yeah, I’d throw any amount of money at reading programs.

I agree with the other responses. It’s not about the amount of pork, it’s about what it’s for.

20% to add a luxury spa to a park used only by a few wealthy people (or something along those lines) might be a no.

80% for a community center that would provide benefits to an underserved community might be a yes.

For me, it wouldn’t really matter what the pork was for, but rather how much I need what I am trying to get, as well as how much the pork might ‘grease’ things with other legislators involved in the bill.

I mean, one of those people might be in a position to help me out later, and would remember my vote on that bill when my time comes due. Or, I might REALLY want some particular legislation passed, and might be willing to put up with an immense amount of pork just to get that done.

“Pork barrel” by itself is a loaded word. Whether something is pork barrel spending is in the eye of the beholder. There’s no objective measure of it. What matters is whether overall the bill accomplishes things you want to accomplish while not doing things you want to avoid.

And who is to say that “pork barrel,” provided you could definitively identify it, is a bad thing? It’s spending directed to a particular district. Very often, that kind of spending is overall a benefit to the public. Like “earmarks,” it’s a pejorative that pretends to understand what should and should not be done with legislation.

I probably wouldn’t vote against it, as pork is usually valuable spending that just happens in someone else’s district.

Being able to slap on billions of unrelated spending on to otherwise useful bills is one of the handful of horrible practices that have dragged down this country for decades.

As a senator I would probably be powerless to fight it and would have to ignore the pork. Voting against it would mean losing my job. “Senator Loach voted against the Puppies, Kittens and Chubby Babies Act. Is that the kind of man you want to be your senator?”

As President I would veto the fuck out of things until they learned to send me clean bills.

Do you have any concrete evidence to support the conclusion that it has “dragged down the country” (or that it amounts to “billions” in wasted spending) or is it just a feeling that you have? Maybe it has been a way to bring necessary benefits to communities whose needs might otherwise have been neglected by those interested only in “useful bills.”

It very well may be that the kind of horse-trading involved in earmarking “unrelated” spending represents exactly the kind of compromise that a mature society makes to ensure that the benefits of government activity are adequately spread around while at the same time ensuring that majorities can be assembled to enact broader, more important agendas.

Yes government is very streamlined and only spends money that it needs to. The debt and deficit spending are really good for the country.

If they want to do horse trading go right ahead. Do it in the open not hidden in 1000 page bill. It’s not what a mature society does it’s what a handful of politicians are doing. No I don’t trust their motives regardless of what letter comes after their name.

And every bill you veto because of its pork is a veto of a bill that also has stuff that as President, you probably really want?

$500,000 to build the Lawrence Welk Museum in Strasburg, ND? Probably pork, but what if it’s attached to a bill that keeps national parks open and both Senators from North Dakota won’t budge?

$50 million to renovate the I-229 bridge, when I-229 itself is a 15-mile bypass that runs right through downtown St. Joseph, MO, and I-29 itself is just 3.56 miles away? 17,000 vehicles travel on that bridge daily. They could just reroute that traffic over city streets. But that would cause traffic jams. But St. Joseph, MO only has 76,000 residents, so how bad can a traffic jam there really be? Is that pork or infrastructure?

Government debt and deficit spending are as a general matter good for the country. Balanced budgets and surpluses are as a general matter bad for the country.

If you are arguing that the current rate of debt and deficit spending is excessive to the point that it’s harmful, can you demonstrate that it has to do with “pork”? The vast majority of government spending comprises military/defense spending, social security, and medicare. Is that the “pork” you’re referring to? What’s the “pork” that’s making the difference between desirable and undesirable debt and deficit spending?

Actually you’ve got that backward. Earmarks were one of the chief ways by which the gears of effective legislation were greased (with pork fat!). Basically a person writing a discretionary spending bill could include specific money for other purposes, as a horse-trading mechanism. Of course, this ‘earmarked’ money circumvented the normal appropriations processes.

There was 2010 legislation to remove this ability, and it’s been a problem ever since- without the ability to trade in earmarks, it removes a whole lot of the incentive to cooperate with people on the other side of the aisle.

Voted other for this.