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Topic: Pork

Rep. Steve LaTourette Supports Bribing Congressmen

Posted on Mar. 30, 12 | 03:52 PM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Pork
RINO Rep. Steve LaTourette (OH-14) openly supports bribing congressmen with earmarks.  He's not even subtle about it.  From the Chicago Tribune:

Republican Representative Steven LaTourette, an 18-year House veteran, said the earmark ban "has affected discipline" within the party. "You can't get 218 votes (out of 242 Republican House members) and part of that has to be if you can't give people anything (earmarks), you can't take anything away from them."

If a member of Congress agrees with 90 percent of a pending bill but is "uncomfortable" with the other 10 percent, "Sometimes taking care of your district (with earmarks) made up for that 10 percent," he said.

How is this not criminal?
Member Comments (1)

Various Lawmakers Comment on Earmark Ban

Posted on Feb. 01, 11 | 09:09 AM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Pork
Member Comments (2)

10 Republicans to Support the Omnibus?

Posted on Dec. 16, 10 | 04:07 PM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Pork
The WSJ editorial board pulled out the long knives this morning with their scathing piece on the $1.1 trillion Omnibus.  Their knives were especially focused on a handful of Senate Republicans.  Excerpt:

We're told that at least six and perhaps as many as 10 Republican Senators may give Mr. Reid the votes he needs to pass this monstrosity. That list includes Susan Collins of Maine, Mr. Cochran, and looming retirees Kit Bond of Missouri, Bob Bennett of Utah and George Voinovich of Ohio. This is the same Senator Voinovich who yesterday voted against extending the Bush-era tax rates on grounds that they are unaffordable.

Mr. Voinovich is retiring with this Congress, and if there were any justice in politics taxpayers could revoke his pension. As for Mr. Bennett, this vote explains his re-election defeat.
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Vote on Earmark Ban Fails in the Senate

Posted on Nov. 30, 10 | 01:48 PM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Pork
Earlier today, the Senate voted on a Coburn amendment to ban earmarks.  Not surprisingly, it failed 39-56.  Seven Democrats voted yes with most Republicans.  They were:

Bayh (IN)
Bennet, M. (CO)
Feingold (WI)
McCaskill (MO)
Nelson, Bill (FL)
Udall, Mark (CO)
Warner, M. (VA)

Eight Republicans (be sure to vote them down on the CFG Power Ranking), voted NO with the Democrats.  They were:

Bennett, R. (UT)
Cochran (MS)
Collins, S. (ME)
Inhofe (OK)
Lugar (IN)
Murkowski, L. (AK)
Shelby (AL)
Voinovich (OH)
Member Comments (4)

Five Schools of Thought on Earmarks

Posted on Nov. 30, 10 | 08:45 AM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Pork
CQ's Kerry Young has divided Congress into five schools of thought when it comes to earmarks.  
  • Earmark pragmatists, who see them as necessary for members of Congress to do (and keep) their jobs.

  • Earmark originalists, who see them as a solemn duty under the Constitution.

  • Earmark purists, against them on principle, either because they waste money or because they invite corruption.

  • Earmark symbolists, who oppose them for symbolic reasons only or because they’ve been browbeaten.

  • Earmark asterisks, who oppose them, except, of course, the ones they don’t oppose.
Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn, and Jeff Flake are definitely in  the purist camp.  Most House GOP appropriators are currently "symbolists" because they support the current ban on earmarks.  But once that ban is lifted (whenever that is), they'll go back to being originalists or pragmatists.  The GOP rank and file - those members who never stand out, who never proactively engage in a fight - are usually pragmatists.  The asterisk category is much more nuanced.  The CQ article ($) provides this example:
“Advocating for transportation projects for one’s district in my mind does not equate to an earmark,” Minnesota Republican and tea party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “I don’t believe that building roads and bridges and interchanges should be considered an earmark.”
Member Comments (10)

Roy Blunt Says NO to Earmark Ban

Posted on Nov. 16, 10 | 08:19 AM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Pork
Senator-elect Roy Blunt says he's going to vote NO on the Senate GOP earmark ban.  
Member Comments (5)

Club for Growth Applauds McConnell, Reformers on Earmark Ban

Posted on Nov. 15, 10 | 03:47 PM by Michael Connolly | Topic: Pork
WASHINGTON – Club for Growth Executive Director David Keating made the following remarks following Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s announcement that he will support an earmark moratorium for the 112th Congress.

“Today Senator McConnell showed that Republicans really do ‘get it.’  His support for the earmark moratorium is a great victory for economic reform and fiscal sanity.  Sen. McConnell did the right thing by listening to the will of the American people and the principled reformers who led this effort. 

“The Club for Growth commends Sen. McConnell’s decision today and urges Senate Republicans to unanimously and publicly adopt the earmark moratorium tomorrow.  And we urge House and Senate Democrats seize this unprecedented opportunity to join the cause and make the earmark moratorium a bipartisan undertaking.”

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McConnell Reverses Position - Supports Earmark Ban

Posted on Nov. 15, 10 | 02:32 PM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Pork
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell just announced on the Senate floor that he supports the earmark ban he previously opposed. 

Here's a copy of his speech.

Congrats to all of the Club members who kept the pressure on by calling their Senators and urging them to support the ban.  Victory is ours, but now we need to make sure they follow through on it.

Member Comments (4)

Secret Earmarks Voteā€¦ Why?

Posted on Nov. 15, 10 | 01:33 PM by Michael Connolly | Topic: Pork
According to Mark Thiessen, Sen.-elect Mike Lee has requested tomorrow’s Senate Republican Conference vote on whether to ban earmarks, now scheduled to be a secret ballot, be made public. 

Tactically for the ant-earmark Lee, this is a brilliant stroke.  Earmarks are much easier to support privately than publicly.  If Lee is successful and the vote is in fact made public, the Conference will probably ban them (and then likely send out a release about how brave they were to do so!).

But the real question is why such votes would ever be private in the first place?  Secret ballot leadership elections: sure, I get that.  Friendships, loyalties, recriminations, etc.

But earmarks are a matter of public policy, a high-profile fiscal issue that everyone elected on November 2 had to come out for or against at some point during the campaign. 

Mike Lee’s case in favor of a public vote thus makes a lot of sense.  It’s the argument on the other side – that the vote should remain secret – that makes almost none.  Why should the default process call for elected Senators to make secret votes about matters of policy?
Member Comments (3)

Mike Lee Takes the Fight to the Senate GOP Porkers

Posted on Nov. 15, 10 | 01:27 PM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Pork
This is a pretty brassy move for a freshman Senator.  If this is any indication on how Lee will operate going forward, taxpayers should be extremely happy.  From Marc Thiessen in the Washington Post:

His boxes are not yet unpacked, and he has not even set foot in his new Senate office, but already Republican Sen.-elect Mike Lee of Utah is shaking things up on Capitol Hill. On Friday night, Lee sent an e-mail to Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander formally requesting that when Republican senators vote on a proposal Tuesday to unilaterally give up earmarks in the 112th Congress, they hold a public, recorded vote instead of a secret ballot.

This is a bold move for a soon-to-be freshman senator. How Republican leaders handle Lee's request may mean the difference between success and failure for the earmark ban - and it will tell Americans a great deal about whether the GOP establishment has learned the lessons of the 2010 elections that swept conservative insurgents like Lee into office.
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Coburn Says Earmark Ban Opponents Deserve Primary Challengers

Posted on Nov. 15, 10 | 01:07 PM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Pork
From the Weekly Standard's John McCormack:

Should Republicans who oppose the moratorium be worried about a primary challenge? "You bet," says Coburn. "They sure should."

"If you can't fix earmarks, you're never going to fix the other problems that are wrong with this country."

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