Scientists have discovered a lotion that can save the lives of U.S. soldiers exposed to chemical weapons — a product vastly superior to the standard-issue decontamination powder.
Naturally, the Defense Department wants to scrap the powder and switch to the more-effective lotion.
But there's a problem: After being lobbied by the companies making the powder, several members of Congress pushed through two earmarks worth $7.6 million that forced the military for the past two years to keep buying the inferior product.
The product, known as M291, is made from a resin sold exclusively by a Pennsylvania chemical company, which is then processed into powder by a New York company, then assembled into individual kits at a facility in Arkansas.
Among the lawmakers who championed the earmarks are Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.; Arlen Specter, R-Pa.; and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
After the large purchases of resin, the military didn't include funding for M291 kits in its budget because the product was being phased out, Bryce said.
But members of Congress had different plans. Staffers for Sens. Clinton and Schumer met with Daniel Kohn, president of Truetech, a Riverhead, N.Y., company that mixed the powder from the resin and produced the kits.
"In self-defense, we've gone to our representatives in Congress and we've said: 'You know, let's lay our cards on the table — we're in business to provide a living and jobs in your district,' " Kohn said in a recent interview.
Clinton, Schumer and others added a $2 million earmark to the 2007 defense bill, instructing the military to buy M291 kits.
As Sondra put it, no, you little bastard, you're in business to make a profit; just because somebody makes a better product doesn't mean your entitled to have a bought politician force people to buy your stuff.
And please note that that miserable jerk Specter is also involved in this mess.