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October 4, 2015

Schatz Defends East-West Center From Ted Cruz, Pigs

Brian Schatz Ted Cruz East-West Center

Schatz isn’t happy with Cruz. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A senator is vocally contesting the inclusion of a project in his home state in the 2014 “Congressional Pig Book.”

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, issued a statement over the weekend touting his effort to preserve (and in fact increase) funding for the East-West Center, a cultural and education exchange center established by Congress in 1960 that’s based in Honolulu.

“For years, the State Department tried to eliminate the center by not requesting funding in the department’s annual budget requests,” the group Citizens Against Government Waste said in the “Pig Book.”

Of course, attempting to zero out funding for a center in the home state of a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee was never likely to succeed. That was true for years under the watchful eye of the late Democratic Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, and the center has continued past his death.

Schatz has defended its funding since then, and in a Saturday statement, he particularly seized on the presence of Texas Republican Ted Cruz at the Citizens Against Government Waste 2014 unveil event, along with live pigs and a costumed pig character.

“Ted Cruz and mainland groups in Washington don’t understand our values or our needs,” Schatz said. “The East-West Center has always been important to Hawaii and given President Obama’s focus on the Asia-Pacific and the significance of U.S.-Asia relations to our national and economic security, the Center could not be more valuable.”

The current omnibus appropriations law provides $5.9 million above the president’s request in fiscal 2014 funding for the East-West Center, which was for $10.8 million.

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    I;’d hope that Mr. Schatz could name at least ONE thing the East-West center has accomplished other than spending money. Other than the noise in his own head about the loss, very few in Hawaii would ever know it was gone.

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