Of Mice and Pork

Remember the salt marsh harvest mouse? We wrote about the mouse here and elsewhere. When the “stimulus” bill was being debated, Republicans charged that among the absurd pork that the bill would fund was a pet project of Nancy Pelosi’s: protecting the habitat of the salt marsh harvest mice in the San Francisco Bay area. At the time, Democrats vigorously denied the charge and pointed out that the mouse was not named in the bill.

True enough: that was one of the major problems with the bill. It allocated enormous amounts of money to be spend on a department by department basis without specifying what the money was to be spent on. The real intent was mostly sub rosa. Thus, Republicans have been reduced to using Google to try to identify local government units and others that have received “stimulus” money.

Now, notwithstanding the Democrats’ outraged denials that the mouse was one of the objects of their largesse, it turns out that the Republicans’ suspicions were correct after all:

The Obama administration quietly announced last week that as much as $16.1 million from the stimulus program is going to save the San Francisco Bay area habitat of, among other things, the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse.

That has revived Republican criticism that the pet project was an “invisible earmark” in the massive spending bill for Mrs. Pelosi, whose San Francisco district abuts the bay, and epitomizes the failure of stimulus spending to help an economy still shedding jobs.

“Lo and behold, the government has announced that the mouse is getting its money after all,” House Minority Leader John A. Boehner said while standing beside a poster of the furry varmint. “Speaker Pelosi must be so proud.”

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