Friday, September 26, 2008

Congress At The Earmark Trough

Adding insult to injury - or in this case Congressionally mandated theft - the Democratically controlled Congress is passing $6.6 billion in earmarks - special interest spending that has never gone through the legislative process of debate and vote, spending that has never been subject to competitive bidding. Republicans were shoulder to shoulder with their Democratic partners at the trough.

This from the USA Today:

A $630 billion spending bill nearing final approval in Congress includes $6.6 billion for thousands of lawmakers' pet projects, including $51.5 million requested by Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden when both presidential candidates have sworn off seeking any money.

Taxpayers for Common Sense analyzed the 2,321 special-interest items called "earmarks" in the spending bill. The legislation is a temporary measure that would fund the government through March, rather than October 2009, when the next fiscal year ends. It combines spending bills for the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs, as well as nearly $30 billion in disaster relief for flood and hurricane victims and up to $25 billion in loans to automakers.

The House of Representatives approved the measure 370-58 on Wednesday, and the Senate is likely to follow before members leave Washington to head home for the November elections.

Both presidential candidates, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, have criticized earmarks. McCain, who doesn't request earmarks, has said that as president, he would veto any bill containing them. Since joining the Senate in 2005, Obama has requested $860.6 million in earmarks, according to the taxpayer group, but none this year, and he has pledged to reduce them if elected president. . . .

Read the entire article.

The list of top earmarkers:


Ted Stevens, R-Alaska $238.5 million

Thad Cochran, R-Miss. $226.6 million

Robert Byrd, D-W.Va. $224.9 million

Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii $222.2 million


John Murtha, D-Pa. $111.1 million

C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla. $99 million

Jerry Lewis, R-Calif. $78.2 million

Dave Obey, D-Wis. $51.5 million

This corrupting and corrupt process will not end until reform is forced down the throat of lawmakers of both parties. For Democrats, earmarks are the currency of their politics. For Republicans, they are poison pills that rip apart the party.

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