Calling all anti-spending Tea Partiers : Trump Administration providing funds for an animal shelter

Two stories that you may have missed :

  1. Dean Phillips (MN03), Collin Peterson (MN07) and 82 of their colleagues wrote in a bipartisan letter that funding for homeless veterans needed to be approved noting a report that in January 2018, there were 37,878 homeless vets including 14,566 unsheltered or living on the streets.
  2. The Trump Administration’s USDA Rural Development announced that $279,800 in funding has been awarded to the Happy Trails No Kill Animal Shelter

Congressman Fred Keller was pleased

“I am proud that the United States Department of Agriculture has awarded this money to Happy Tails No Kill Animal Shelter,” said Congressman Fred Keller. “Ongoing investment in rural Pennsylvania and areas within Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District will help drive our economy. This Rural Development investment money will be going to a great cause in the Towanda area.”

That funding was part of $394 million funding into rural critical community faculties in 28 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Minnesota had one project approved … for the City of Sacred Heart to restore the city’s streets in order to convey traffic and provide storm water removal to protect property.

It’s sorta interesting that Minnesotans heard for years about the evils of earmarks and that pork-barrel spending was expanding the national debt, yet, there does not appear to be the same worries today as President Trump has expanded the national debt to over $23 TRILLION ( it was $19.9 Trillion on Inauguration Day.)

By design, the projects are in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less, and are to be focused on infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; etc. So the list ranges from replacement police vehicles to hospitals and schools.

Yep, Minnesotans remember the long process and repeated requests for funding for Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School which held class in what was once a bus garage and had serious heating and structural problems. Operated by the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwa, under a treaty the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School was dependent on the federal government to fund the school building. The band had requested $25 million for a new facility, and finally in 2016, the Department of the Interior approved less than half that — $11.9 million.

Contrast that with the city of Lakeland, Tennessee which will have access to $60 million to construct a high school and refinance middle school debt. Constructing the school will relieve classroom overcrowding. The Lakeland school is in Tennessee’s Eighth District represented by Republican David Kustoff.

And it isn’t only public schools that are getting money … $7,162,500 is being allocated to Bonneville Academy, a charter school. The school has been leasing a building for two years. Purchasing the building will eliminate the high payment lease agreement. Bonneville Academy is in Utah Fourth District represented by Republican Chris Smith. That isn’t the only charter school … as Athenian Academy of Pasco County in Republican Gus Bilirakis’s Florida Twelfth District has been awarded $2,140,00.

Actually, reviewing the list of projects, questions have to be raised as to whether there was any bias favoring Republicans and states that President Trump needs to win. For example, Pennsylvania projects tally $99,922,800 including Fred Keller’s animal shelter.

Distinguishing the fiscal lines between federal, state and local responsibilities can be challenging, yet somehow some projects are getting the attention from the Trump Administration and are being approved … meanwhile Congress is fighting over funding to provide shelter for our veterans — which should be a higher priority than many of these projects.