$50 Million for Mississippi Pork

The Waste Basket Vol. III No. 24 8/6/98, 1998 Weekly Bulletin on Wasteful Government Spending from Taxpayers for Common Sense $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) thinks the U.S. Navy needs another helicopter carrier. The U.S. Navy, however, does not agree. Tucked into the defense authorization and appropriation bills, passed by the Senate just a few weeks ago, was $50 million to buy parts for a $1.5 billion helicopter carrier. The Navy has not requested the carrier, known as the LHD-8. At present, the Navy already has seven of the LHD helicopter carriers in service or under construction. In addition to these seven ships, five older carriers of similar design, known as LHA's, are also part of U.S. naval fleet. Reports indicate the Navy is leaning toward making structural changes to one of the older ships, as opposed to purchasing a brand new carrier. The cost of refurbishing an LHA would be approximately $950 million. When contrasted with the cost of a new LHD carrier, budgetary savings for taxpayers would be several hundred million dollars per ship. Despite these facts, Congress has provided a down payment on an eighth LHD carrier. A New York Times article attributed this allocation to Senator Trent Lott -- with good reason. All the previous LHD and LHA carriers were built at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi - the home state of Senator Lott. Ingalls would almost certainly build any new helicopter carriers. Furthermore, not only is Ingalls the largest private employer in Mississippi, with 11,000 employees, but it also has ties to Senator Lott's family from the time he was in high school. One lobbyist on Capitol Hill, familiar with the issue, was quoted by the New York Times as saying, "This is all Lott. This is the type of thing that majority leaders do." $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ INFO ABOUT TCS: or If you would like to add yourself to the Waste Basket listserve send an email message to with the words "subscribe (your email address)" in the body of the message. To remove yourself from the list, send a message to the same address with the words "unsubscribe (your address)" in the body of the message.