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New List Exposes Government Waste

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This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," December, 11 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, there's a new list exposing enough government pork certainly to make Miss Piggy proud. Yesterday, on this very show, Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz was taking on his own party. Remember this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: I took out a 12-year incumbent Republican because of this very issue. I was adamant in saying, look, we have got to be good stewards of the American people's money. And those that refuse to do that are going to suffer the consequences.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: All right, was my next guest listening? He is a fellow Republican congressman, Aaron Schock. He joins me right now.

Congressman, what do you make of that, a colleague of yours who says, no pork, ever, ever, ever?

REP. AARON SCHOCK (R), ILLINOIS: Well, I agree with his statement that, if we're not good stewards of the taxpayer money, we are going to face consequences and likely be unelected, as was a Republican majority that I think lost its way with spending.

And, clearly, the Democrats are doubling down here, and spending more than ever has been spent in our country's history. And the issue of pork or community projects or earmarks or whatever you want to make them out to be, the reality is, it is none of those projects that really affect the deficit, as much as it is just overall discretionary spending here in our country.

We just passed an omnibus bill this week that increases spending 12.5 percent. At a time when every state, every local government is cutting back, we're adding spending increases here on the average of 12.5 percent.

CAVUTO: Well, so are you, though, Congressman. You know, no offense, sir, but you are no shrinking violet on this pork train. I mean, you have committed $3 million to reallocate a base entrance to the Lincoln Capital Airport. I don't know what that involves. Maybe it is perfectly justified.

You spend another $800,000 on something called Illinois Height Modernization for the Illinois State Geographical Survey...

SCHOCK: Sure.

CAVUTO: ... and another 250 grand for the Oak Ridge Cemetery improvements.

I certainly hope some very important people are buried there.

My point is...

SCHOCK: Absolutely not.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHOCK: If I can, Mr. Cavuto...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: All right. This is vital to you, right?

SCHOCK: It is.

CAVUTO: But someone else might call it pork.

SCHOCK: Well, first of all, the person buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery is a man named Abraham Lincoln, who you may be familiar with.

And because of that, it gets a huge amount of traffic, and which is what I would argue is a reason the federal government has something to do with that cemetery.

CAVUTO: But you have allocated $250,000 — $250,000.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: What about this $3 million for the airport? What are you doing there?

(CROSSTALK)

SCHOCK: Let me give you a fact to consider, OK?

If earmarks are the problem, then what would you say about the $787 billion stimulus bill, the largest spending bill in our country's history, which the president, rightfully so, says, there were no earmarks?

How about giving all the federal money to unelected bureaucrats who never have to justify where the money goes, who never have to face an electorate or an election to be reelected?

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Well, Congressman, I don't know which guy you are. Are you criticizing that spending or are you the guy doing the actual spending?

I went to your Web site. I see — and quite to your credit — you say: "I cannot support vast increases in spending on current programs that are pork-laden, that have nothing to do with stimulating the economy, and instead stimulates government."

Yet, you appear, maybe for completely justifiable reasons, sir, to be doing the same exact thing.

SCHOCK: Well, you asked the question of whether or not — who would I rather have handing out this money?

Well, our founding fathers decided that with Article I of the Constitution, which gives the power of the purse to the Congress.

I said from day one and I have continued to say since I have been elected that I'm going to fight for the economic interests of my district. We have disclosure statements we have to file with any kind of financial requests that we make.

CAVUTO: Right.

SCHOCK: But it is overall spending. Obviously, there's going to be some federal spending that occurs, OK, unless you want to completely abolish the federal government.

And we need to be able to justify where that federal spending goes.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But do see what I mean, though, Congressman?

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: And I know you're looking after — for your constituents' interests. And that is fine.

But I'm saying, if 434 other guys in Congress do exactly what you're doing, and 100 senators do what you're doing, and everyone says, look, my stuff is not pork, it is very vital, and they all make the same pitch, then you are really no different than the Democratic big-time spenders that you criticize, because I know you say your stuff is vital, but, to a lot of Americans, it looks like (INAUDIBLE) and we don't have the money, and you are sending a message that, I can say one thing, but do something else.

SCHOCK: No.

Neil, here is what is the problem with that statement, OK? The reality is, we need to decide what we as the government can afford to spend. OK? We need to live within a budget...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But we can't afford any of this, right? We don't have any money, Congressman. We can't afford any of this.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHOCK: Just as you and I set personal budgets, state governments set their budgets, local governments set their budget.

And what I, as well as a majority of Americans are opposed to, is increasing our spending levels in each of these respective departments at the rate of an average of 12.5 percent.

CAVUTO: But you did. You just increased money that we didn't have for things we don't need.

SCHOCK: Well, you're — it is easy to criticize any spending. We can go through the federal budget line item by line item and pick apart each piece.

The fact of the matter is, we have a federal government that will operate, that will spend money. And what is important is that we stop the great increases in the overall discretionary spending.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: All right, Congressman.

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