The effort was launched on September 18, 2005, after the massive scale of the reconstruction effort necessary for the areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina had become apparent. It quickly picked up steam as blogger Glenn Reynolds (aka "Instapundit") began promoting the idea and the influential-though-anonymous blogger NZ Bear set up a website showing which members of the U.S. Congress had committed to cutting projects in their own districts to help offset the disaster recovery effort.
Reynolds encourages his readers to send him copies of pork-cutting letters they send to their representatives and Senators, along with the responses from the elected officials. He then posts these on his website under the heading "Porkbusters Update".
In operation for less than six weeks, as of October 13, 2005 the project has already managed to garner $84,000,000 in specific budget cut commitments out of various Representatives and non-specific agreements out of many more. In addition, those Representatives who have been contacted and have negative responses are highlighted and their contact information is made available for their constituents.
The Porkbusters project endorsed the Coburn Amendment. Officially titled the Coburn Amendment to the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development appropriations bill (HR 3058), the Coburn Amendment was a bill proposed by Senator Tom Coburn that would divert money from the transportation bill, specifically the $220 million for the Gravina Island Bridge in Alaska to the reconstruction of the "Twin Spans" bridge in Louisiana. This amendment has also gained the support of liberal blogger Markos Moulitsas. The amendment was defeated 82-15.
On October 30, 2005, N.Z. Bear posted an entry to his blog entitled The Next Phase of Porkbusters. In it he states
Porkbusters is shifting its focus from raising awareness of pork to calling attention to specific legislation that actually starts eliminating pork. The first bill that we are focusing on is sponsored by seven Senators who have styled themselves the "Fiscal Responsibility Team": Tom Coburn, Sam Brownback, Jim DeMint, John Ensign, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and John Sununu.
As of December 9, 2005, Senator Coburn has the Porkbuster logo on his site, along with a separate page listing his Porkbuster efforts, though Porkbusters had a few setback when Senator Sununu lost his Senate seat in 2008 and when Senator McCain voted on the highly controversial Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which is thought to have worsened their fight against pork.
In August 2006, Porkbusters, Talking Points Memo and other blogs from across the political spectrum worked together to support the proposed Obama-Coburn Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (S. 2590). "Secret holds" placed on the bill were eventually tracked down to Senators Ted Stevens and Robert Byrd. The bill became law in September 2006.
- Porkbusters progress to date in the Times Picayune
- Glenn Reynolds on Reliable Sources on CNN talking about Porkbusters
- Video of Glenn Reynolds on Kudlow and Company
- Porkbuster coverage on Channel 2 news Nashville
- NPR story on Porkbuster efforts in Bozeman, Montana
- CNN covering Porkbuster Project