August 4th, 2007
06:05 PM ET
9 years ago

McCain: Congress shares blame for bridge collapse

McCain criticized pork barrel spending on Saturday

(CNN)–Senator John McCain says Congress should share some of the blame for the collapse of the bridge in Minnesota, because of the diversion of money meant for transportation spending that goes to pet projects for members of Congress.

"Clearly inspections of bridges are needed and that's why the Department of Transportation has ordered them," the GOP presidential candidate said. "That we have to spend 233 million of those dollars earmarked for transportation, that are already intended for transportation, on an outrageous earmark of a 233 million dollar bridge in Alaska to an island with 50 people on it, its an argument for reforming this broken system of corruption and earmarking in Washington." McCain said that money should have been used to fund inspections and repairs of the nation's infrastructure.

McCain has been a vocal critic of "ear marks", narrowly targeted projects that members of Congress tuck into appropriations bills. Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, faced criticism for an appropriation of 233 million dollars to build a bridge in an area of his state with a small population.

McCain made the comments to local reporters on Saturday in Ankeny, Iowa following a town hall meeting. He is due to participate in a debate Sunday with the other Republican presidential candidates in Des Moines.

–CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

Filed under: Iowa • John McCain • Race to '08
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Kerry Apple Valley MN

    Ted Stevens and his ilk should all be sacked. They are indirectly responsible for tying up hundreds of millions of dollars for their pork barrel projects to the detriment of the country as a whole. I have no respect for him as a lawmaker. He's just another "good ol boy" watchin out for his own.

    August 4, 2007 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  2. Steven in Charleston, SC

    I agree with McCain, and am in favor of doing away with "ear-marks," but let's not let let ourselves be deluded into believing that these are the "real" problems. Our budget is in such a mess not because our congress is wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on pet projects, but because our President is wasting hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars on a war that doesn't need to be fought (a war that McCain supports), and by turning a blind eye to the tens of billions of dollars of corporate profits that are being diverted overseas where they are completely free of taxation. Let's fix THOSE problems first, then we can worry about the self-serving culture that has pervaded our congress.

    August 4, 2007 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. Eric - Detroit

    It's nobody's fault but Bush.

    He's to blame for most everything wrong with America today.

    He's wildly spent up BILLIONS in Iraq on a war only 80% of the public disapproves of.

    Another reason he needs to be impeached.

    All that war money could have went to fixing bridges, health care and social security right here in the U.S.

    But instead, we spend it on Iraq.

    Smart move.

    Now we all get to suffer thanks to the President.

    Gotta love Bush.

    August 4, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. Paul N, Saddle River, New Jersey

    McCain, so desperate.

    August 4, 2007 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  5. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Huh?! He's either desperate, delusional or both. While it's true that governments have been remarkably short-sighted in not creating "sinking funds" to repair and replace crumbling infrastructure, blaming a do-nothing Congress of which he is a part is the sign of a hero who has fallen from favor.

    August 4, 2007 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Stevens is a crook, but Mccain certainly hasn't wasted much time politicizing this tragedy has he? Anything for some presstime.

    August 4, 2007 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  7. Dan

    Stevens is a crook, but Mccain certainly hasn't wasted any time politicizing this tragedy, has he? Anything for some presstime.

    August 4, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  8. Wynter, Loudon, NH

    There is enough blame to spread around throughout the government. Senator McCain is trying to make political points from stating that earmarks like those requested by Sen. Ted Stevens (AK), whom is currently under investigation by the FBI, are to blame for funds being diverted from inspections to older bridges.

    While that may be a good point. It smacks more of an attempt to put himself back in the news as his presidential aspirations are going downhill fast.

    Our Dept. of Transportation and teams of bridge inspection consultants are primarily to blame for our current situation. The DOT should be trumpeting the risks to the public in an effort to solidly secure the funds we need to replace our transportation infrastructure. And legislation should be put in place to forbid the continued use of a structure once it reaches a point where it could result in collapse. We condemn buildings, but our transportation system seems to be exempt from this. Why?

    Angry Motorist from NH


    August 4, 2007 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  9. Casey, Orlando, Florida

    Give Democrats a break about the bridge collapse! They have been running the Congress for about eight months. Bush and Republicans are to be blamed because they were focusing on Iraq more than anything else. That is why we voted for the Democrats in the first place.

    August 4, 2007 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  10. Hugo CmCain, Washalon, Maryland

    MCCain is so smart, then why is he not president?

    August 4, 2007 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  11. Ret. Navy, KY

    To: Posted By Eric – Detroit

    In 2002/2003 75% approved of the war.
    Now that the going is tough 50% want to run and forget those who died and those who were killed before they could come here and enslave you and the women in you life.
    20 years I spent in the NAVY so you can express you opinon. Under Islam YOU would be a robot. Face Mecca 5 times a day and hope you wife/mother/lover is no stoned for just being who they are.
    Bush has make errors and so will his replacement. Just like L.B. Johnson remimber 50,000 dead becouse of his lies. 16 of them were my friends.

    August 4, 2007 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  12. DAJ, Franklin, NJ

    Shame on Congress. The American people need to pay closer attention to their State's congressional elections, and vote where a real difference in our government can be made.

    August 4, 2007 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  13. Matt Kachaluba, Phoenix AZ

    What a loser.

    The Stevens earmark was scuttled before the bill was signed into law. So that would make McCain a liar. Again.

    Where's the mention of him voting against last week's ethics bill that passed and will make it very difficult to sneak these earmarks in? Just give up, John. You are a political whore who will say anything to get people to vote for you. Time to pack it in.

    August 4, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  14. Afroz, Northern California

    I think that McCain is doing this purely to have the light shed on his political campaign. In the aftermath of such a tragedy it’s mind blowing that he is trying to push his own agenda. Also, if we all wanted, we could blame every tragedy of this sort on the fact that earmarks are taking money away and putting them towards “pet projects”. Yes, earmarks need to be dealt with, but it’s time for our elected officials to step up to the plate and fix America’s infrastructural problems as opposed to trying to score points by blaming the other side of the aisle.

    August 4, 2007 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  15. fedupwithourgov't

    Weathervane McCain!

    August 4, 2007 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  16. Mike, Coarsegold, Cal.

    Yeah, its all Bush's fault. Global warming, natural disasters, collapsing bridges, pollution, big oil, Halliburton, Osama Bin Laden, the Taliban-none of this existed prior to George Bush.

    Shame on him.

    August 4, 2007 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  17. Zeyn Uzman, PA

    I agree 100%. When I worked at the Illinois Department of Transporataion, I saw how money was wasted on projects that were not needed when other bridges were in dire need of repair. There is a need for politics to stay out of the engineering processing and money spent when needed due to disrepair, not votes.

    August 4, 2007 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  18. Mark C, Morehead City NC

    Actually, you morons who think he's just being political should know that McCain was outspoken against the "bridge to nowhere" as a particularly egregious earmark when it was brought up.

    Also, the earmark was technically removed, but the total dollar amount for Alaska was left unchanged, and the governor still plans to build it. So the guy who accused him of lying has got some serious truth issues himself

    August 4, 2007 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  19. S Bengtson, Phoenix AZ

    I am sure that congress has some responsibility some where in this, but at the same time it’s impossible to put money into are economy if we keep throwing it down the drain on a lost war. There is one massive financial drain in are economy that we need to plug, before we go after any other “wasters”

    August 4, 2007 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  20. John McCarthy, Newport News, VA

    I proclaim a new party of the American people! I don't know what to call it yet, but it will damn well be free of scumbag liars like the ones in the two main parties.

    Who's in?

    August 4, 2007 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  21. Big Ben Rock Hill SC

    Bush would not sign the treaty that was to be an action the world was going to take to begin to slow Global warming.

    FEMA was once a good organization, Bush turned it into nothing. “You are doing a heck of a job Brownie." Remember him walking out the mists in New Orleans to stage an address to the nation in which he proclaimed how New Orleans would be rebuilt? How is that going?

    He has opposed any thing that would cut pollution. Says would raise cost and loose jobs.

    Big Oil has made obscene profits by jacking up prices under Bush.

    Halliburton’s no bid contracts that were never followed up on to see if done but was paid anyway.

    Osama Bin Laden, Bush once stated he wasn’t really concerned about him anymore.

    Yes, all those things existed before Bush and he has made all of them worse.

    And yes, I do agree: Shame on him.

    August 4, 2007 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  22. Kirsten, F'burg, VA

    Do people really think that any of the money that is being spent in Iraq would have been used on bridges? Bridges collapsed in the '70s and there was no Iraqi war. Face it. Congress is full of fools who only care about their own projects, Democrats and Republicans alike.

    August 4, 2007 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  23. John from America

    Yes – John (flip flop) Mc (flip flop) Cain is right Congress should have taken care of our infrastructure but, wasn't he so busy spending money on Iraq that the "fiscally responsible" republicans just couldn't afford to fix our crumbling infrastructure and keep giving tax breaks to the billionaires of this country?

    August 4, 2007 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  24. Bill Culver, Covington, LA.

    It's about time for that phony McCane to mention the bridge from Nevada to Harry Reids property in Arizona, enhansing the value of that property.

    August 4, 2007 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  25. Ret. Navy, KY

    Casey, Orlando, Florida

    Give Democrats a break about the bridge collapse! They have been running the Congress for about eight months. Bush and Republicans are to be blamed because they were focusing on Iraq more than anything else. That is why we voted for the Democrats in the first place.

    They only ran congress for 40+ years and were did to money go in 1990 when the bridge failed inspection?
    Oh yes they will fix SS & Medicare,
    !! NOT !!

    August 4, 2007 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
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