Pork

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A colloquial term used to describe projects of high importance to legislative representatives at the local level, but financed at the Federal level. Often these include new schools or research centers named after individual legislators or campaign contributor, funds for research projects in home states or districts, contracts to corporations in economically-sensitive areas, and proposals for ventures that serve no apparent purpose other than to reward supporters.

Pork is generally inserted into spending or appropriations bills in the final stages of negotiations, as an incentive for reluctant legislators to sign on and commit to support the bill. In the runup to elections, it is common for pork projects to be announced, as a way of showing the positive effects that the legislator in question is having on the community. Legislators are generally required to hold a certain level of senority in order to get any significant pork projects funded.

Examples of pork projects include:

  • $375,000,000 for an amphibious assault ship (that was not requested by the Pentagon) to be built in Mississippi
  • $700,000 for the a theater in Bremerton, Washington
  • $5000 for the Michigan Beef Expo

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