Remember the Bear DNA Study McCain Brought Up at Saddleback…


From the fourm at Saddleback on Saturday, Senator McCain gave this thoughtful response about spending:

And my friend, it was not taxes that mattered in America in the last several years.  It was spending.  Spending got completely out of control.  We spent money in a way that mortgaged our kids’ futures.  My friends, we spent $3 million of your money to study the DNA of bears in Montana.  Now I don’t know if that was a paternity issue or a criminal issue, but the point is — but the point is it was 3 million of your money.  It was your money.  And you know, we laugh about it, but we cry — and we should cry because the Congress is supposed to be careful stewards of your tax dollars. 

There’s a small problem with this example.  Senator McCain voted to fund it.  Here’s the backup from the non-partisan

From the report:

In fact, he voted in favor of the bill that included the bear study funding; he was absent for key votes on the Woodstock museum (including one on an amendment he co-sponsored); and he never specifically tried to eliminate the bridge earmark and missed some crucial votes on that one, as well.

This is not the first time McCain has poked fun at the bear project. He first mentioned it on the Senate floor, while discussing the 2003 Omnibus Appropriations Bill that included funding for the project:

McCain (Senate floor, Feb. 13, 2003): Because these appropriations are never discussed with nonmembers of the Appropriations Committee, one can only imagine and conjure up an idea as to how this might be used. Approach a bear: That bear cub over there claims you are his father, and we need to take your DNA. Approach another bear: Two hikers had their food stolen by a bear, and we think it is you. We have to get the DNA. The DNA doesn’t fit, you got to acquit, if I might.

Good laugh lines, maybe, but the United States Geological Service’s Northern Divide Grizzly Bear Project didn’t study DNA for paternity tests or forensics. Rather, it explored a means of estimating Montana’s grizzly bear population by analyzing bear fur snagged on barbed wire. The project was funded partly by federal appropriations – about $1 million per year in add-ons to USGS in 2003 through 2005, $400,000 in 2006 and $300,000 in 2007, plus a $1.1 million earmark through the Forest Service in 2004, according to the study’s principal researcher, Katherine C. Kendall. Part of that funding was doled out as part of the omnibus appropriations bill McCain discussed in February 2003.Despite the fun McCain had ridiculing the bear project on the Senate floor, he didn’t actually try to remove it from the bill. He did introduce several amendments, including three to reduce funding for projects he considered wasteful or harmful, but none removing the grizzly bear project appropriations. And despite his criticisms, he voted in favor of the final bill.



  4 comments for “Remember the Bear DNA Study McCain Brought Up at Saddleback…

  1. Lefty
    August 20, 2008 at 10:09 am

    Good point. And peanuts $$$ compared to Iraq.

    How do those like MCCain, who voted to GIVE AWAY good middle-class USA jobs (NAFTA & PNTR) expect to pay for their massive overspending? The poor can’t pay, the middle class is increasingly becoming poor, & the countries most affluent control Washington …

  2. RHackett
    August 20, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    The ironometer is pegged once again.

  3. tj
    August 20, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    We do not know the whole story about that the grizzly bear project appropriations. For all I know, it is possible that this bear DNA bill could’ve been a small and laughable consollation prize McCain agreed to pay in exchange for larger, crazier, and more serious expenses. To me the issue is not how he voted, but that our Senate is full of clueless and shameless spenders of our money. By the way, does anyone know how senator McCain voted: “Yes”, “No” or “Present”?

  4. Dick
    September 11, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    It’s OK to spend trillions in Iraq, but any money for science should be questioned, according to McCain, who doesn’t understand wildlife biology. DNA studies on populations of animals that are under stress (bears in Montana) are important. You must know the genetic relatedness between the different populations of a species (to prevent inbreeding), for management decisions. This is money for basic science. The lack of understanding of basic science by the politicians of both parties is shameful.

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