National Affairs: Boondoggles

Rising during the House debate last week on the $1.6 billion military construction bill, Illinois Republican Leslie Arends wrinkled his long nose at the scent of one particular section. What he objected to was some finicky fine print giving Congress veto power over Defense Department efforts to get out of such nonmilitary ventures as operating ice-cream plants, laundries, dry-cleaning plants, etc.

The section could be interpreted, said Les Arends, as "a political provision whereby members of Congress can stop the Secretary of Defense from closing commercial activity in their districts. Much is said here...

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