Congressional Priorities: $700 Million for ‘Railroad to Nowhere,’ $173 Million for Stopping Mass Murder

The Senate is expected to approve a nearly $109 billion spending bill today. The legislation provides some useful insight into the priorities of our current Congress.

The bill includes $700 million for the “railroad to nowhere:

The project, which was added to a $106.5 billion emergency defense spending bill in the Senate, would relocate a Gulf Coast rail line inland, to higher ground. Never mind that the hurricane-battered line was just repaired at a cost of at least $250 million. Or that at $700 million, the project championed by Mississippi’s two US senators is being called the largest “earmark” ever.

Meanwhile, a paltry $173 million has been appropriated for peacekeeping efforts in Darfur, where violence is “horrendously bad and worsening” according to the U.N.’s top humanitarian official.

After three years of genocide — 400,000 dead, 2.5 million driven from their homes, razed villages, rape campaigns, and mass starvation — our government still doesn’t get it. So much for “Never Again.”

On a positive note, at least the Senate passage of the $173 million today was unanimous. When the funding was voted on in the House, it was opposed by the White House (which wanted even less) and passed by only five votes, 213–208, thanks to strong opposition from conservatives, including House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH).