Keep mine, throw the others out

17 Dec

Here’s a classic case of “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Twenty-five senators, most of them Republican, recently voted to ban earmarks. Okay.
Here’s everything you need to know about what an earmark is.

They called the 1,900-page budget bill a pork-filled mess and accused Democrats of trying to ram it through Congress with minimal debate and little if any opportunity to make changes.

So way are we stamping our foot in the hallway and throwing a snit?

Some GOP senators voiced outrage – but didn’t make any effort to dump their own earmarks from the legislation, which has been in the works for months. You just gotta laugh.

Okay, just to be a tad bit fair – The bill was pulled yesterday but may yet come back. The earmark-free approach promised by 39 Republicans and Democrats was adopted well after work got under way on the bill that’s coming to the Senate floor. Then to be even more fair – with only a few exceptions, senators have not matched up their opposition with a request to remove their earmarks from the bill.

The bill and attached reports contained 6,714 earmarks costing $8.3 billion. 6-thousand, seven hundred fourteen. Twenty-one Republicans and four Democrats who voted for the immediate ban on earmarks have their names attached to some of those earmarks.

Here’s something even better:
At a news conference today, some reporter actually asked the proper question as to why they have earmarks in the bill. Senators John Thune and John Cornyn, (both Republicans) have earmarks in it.

Thune says, “I support those projects, but I don’t support this bill.”

Cornyn had a bunch too, “I’m going to vote against this bill and refuse all those earmarks.” Uh, so long as they remain in the bill they are going ahead.

Double-talk. Political-speak. Call it what you will. See why we end our week sippin’ too much Yukon Jack?

Since the Senate on November 30th to kill earmarks, only Senator Orrin Hatch actually wrote to the Appropriations Committee to withdraw his pet spending items.

In the end, late yesterday the Democrats pulled the bill. The heat in the kitchen got a bit too hot.

Look, earmarks sometimes are good things. They plug money into a state project that has been ignored by the administration. Earmarks are sometimes bad things, especially around reelection time when a politician wants to get votes.

The key is don’t get crazy and overboard. Something one should never expect from Congress.

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