The 2009-page $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill before Congress this week includes a $640 million earmark for a Coast Guard ship the Coast Guard doesn't want, but K Street does.
Veteran appropriator and league-leading porker Thad Cochran stuck the earmark in the bill, to the benefit of his home state and his lobbyist friends representing the shipbuilder who will get the contract. It's a nice return on the investment those lobbyists made to get Cochran re-elected last year.
The U.S. Coast Guard in recent years has begun replacing some of its aging fleet with top-of-the-line 418-feet National Security Cutters. The NSC has advanced weapons systems and a helipad. "Each NSC is built to serve as operational-level headquarters for complex law enforcement, defense and national security missions," the Coast Guard brags.