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Topic: Pork

The Big Earmark Showdown

Posted on Nov. 15, 10 | 09:16 AM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Pork
The earmark battle is heating up.  The Senate GOP conference is set to hold a vote on the issue this week and the battle lines have been drawn very clearly.
On one side, you have Sens. Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn and several soon-to-be freshmen like Pat Toomey and Mike Lee.  They are fighting to impose an earmark ban in the Senate that is identical to the ban that the House GOP plans to impose on themselves.  
On the other side, you have "old bull" Republican Senators like Mitch McConnell and Jim Inhofe who want to keep the pork process alive and well.  As the WSJ writes about them in today's editorial:
"These Republicans have allies among Senate Democrats, who we hear are likely to use the lame duck session of Congress to try to pass an omnibus spending bill of $1 trillion or more for fiscal 2011. You can bet that bill will contain hundreds, if not thousands, of earmarks."
Also on McConnell and Inhofe's side is...get this...the American League of Lobbyists.  From The Hill newspaper:  
[ALoL President Dave] Wenhold said the earmarking system is already transparent and that lobbyists are happy to stand behind projects they have lobbied for.

"Members of Congress should be running towards earmarks. They are transparent. They put their name behind them," Wenhold said. "Any good lobbyist doing earmark work would never be afraid of having sunlight being put on it. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it."
Here's more coverage on this debate:

McConnell's Argument is a "Load of Crap" - Glenn Reynolds
Lend Me Your Earmarks - K. Tomlinson, Weekly Standard

Senate GOP to Tea Party: Go Screw Yourselves -

Earmark Debate Comedy (Sort Of) -

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The Great Senate Earmark Debate

Posted on Nov. 12, 10 | 01:44 PM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Pork
Our friends at the Heritage Foundation have collected these stories on the big earmark battle going on between pro-growth Senators like Jim DeMint, Pat Toomey, and Rand Paul vs. Establishment Senators like Mitch McConnell and Jim Inhofe.

Politico (blog)
By Trish Turner (Fox News)
By Brian Darling (Profile)
By Stephen F. Hayes
By The Associated Press
Boston Globe
Washington Examiner (blog)
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"An Earmark Fight Congress Doesn't Need"

Posted on Nov. 12, 10 | 12:01 PM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Pork
From anti-earmark hero Rep. Jeff Flake in the Washington Post:

As the defenders of earmarking are fond of saying, earmarks represent less than 2 percent of all federal spending. Precisely! By focusing on a measly 2 percent of spending, we have given up effective oversight on the remaining 98 percent.

This lopsided exchange can be examined empirically. As the number of earmarks has risen significantly over the past two decades, the amount of oversight exercised by the House Appropriations Committee - as measured by the number of hearings held, witnesses called, etc. - has declined substantially. It is as if Congress has called a truce with the executive branch: Don't hassle us about our 2 percent, and we'll offer only token interference with your 98 percent. Such a poor trade has not been made since the days of Esau.
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Whip Count for DeMint's Earmark Ban

Posted on Nov. 11, 10 | 01:45 PM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Pork
The good folks at Taxpayers Against Earmarks have a great whip count for DeMint's earmark ban, which will be voted on by the Senate GOP Conference later this month.  If your Senators haven't committed to a position or are voting NO, call them today!
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It's Time to Ban Earmarks in the Senate

Posted on Nov. 09, 10 | 10:41 AM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Pork
The House GOP gets it.  They plan to extend their earmark moratorium when they take over the majority.  I rarely say this, but House GOP leadership deserves a lot of credit.  They weren't initially willing to push hard for the ban, but they eventually did and it's paying off.  A thousand kudos to Reps. Jeff Flake, Jeb Hensarling, and John Campbell, too.  They are the ones who have fought earmarks for the past several years, offering countless amendments to spending bills to strip out pork projects.  Most of the amendments failed, but their overall mission was successful because it put a bright spotlight on the corrupt earmark practice.
However, Senate GOP leaders like Mitch McConnell want no part in the earmark ban.  They want to keep the pork barrel process alive and well.  Thankfully, a small band of principled Republican Senators don't agree.  
Next week, Sen. Jim DeMint will call for an amendment to the Senate GOP conference rules that would ban earmarks.  His co-sponsors include Senators Tom Coburn, John Cornyn, John Ensign, and Mike Enzi.  It also includes Senators-elect Pat Toomey, Rand Paul, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, and Kelly Ayotte.
In order for them to win, leadership needs to feel the heat.  Call up your Republican Senator(s) and tell them to support DeMint's amendment.  After such a successful election, we don't want to lose it all because a handful of spendthrift Republicans are still trying to conduct "business as usual."
Let's engage this fight!  The Capitol Hill switchboard is (202) 224-3121.
Member Comments (3)

Boehner Expected to Extend Earmark Ban

Posted on Oct. 28, 10 | 01:30 PM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Pork
National Journal has the story ($).  Excerpt:

House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, is expected to push for an extension of a moratorium on all earmarks that House Republicans agreed to in March for fiscal 2010, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Other top Republicans have already called for extending the moratorium, which would apply to appropriations bills, authorization bills, and tariff-related bills.  House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., supported an extension earlier this month. House Appropriations ranking member Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., also seems to be on board.

Big props to Boehner.  This is great news and is a victory for the good guys.  But don't expect the squishier Senate GOP to go along with this even though DeMint plans to force a vote on the issue.  Excerpt:
Several top Senate Republicans are unabashed supporters of steering federal money to their states.  Among them: Minority Leader McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, both longtime appropriators; Richard Shelby of Alabama, ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee; Thad Cochran of Mississippi, ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee; and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

[...]John Hart, a spokesman for Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said it would be a failure if the conference does not adopt an earmark moratorium, which Coburn backs, and they would “spend the year defending Republican earmarks on the floor.”

Hart noted many potential new members have “campaigned on Coburn’s amendment to defund the Bridge to Nowhere [in Alaska], which was a Republican earmark. It’s hard to imagine blocking a moratorium will persuade them to drop the issue.”

Inhofe however has said he will try to do just that. The Oklahoman has pledged to take on his home-state colleague by waging a floor campaign defending the power of Congress to earmark funds.
Member Comments (4)

Are House Republicans Going to Extend Earmark Moratorium?

Posted on Oct. 13, 10 | 09:17 AM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Pork
When it comes to reforming the earmark process, the only reform fiscal conservatives want to see is NO earmark process.  This op-ed by Rep. Eric Cantor suggests that House Republicans might finally appreciate that.  We'll have to wait and see what happens next year.  One thing is for certain, the new House freshmen are going to be strongly opposed to earmarks.  Leadership will have to deal with that.  From the POLITICO:

House Republicans took an unprecedented stand in March, imposing an immediate moratorium on earmarks for the remainder of the Congress. Yet, because the governing rules of one Congress cannot bind the next, this moratorium will expire on Jan. 3, 2011. I do not believe that should be allowed to happen. 

A lot has happened over the last eight months. Unfortunately none of it has done anything to rein in spending, eliminate waste or send the message to frustrated people across this country that Washington gets it. 

That is why the next Republican Conference should immediately move to eliminate earmarks. Should Republicans be elected as the majority party, I believe that we should extend the moratorium to the entire House – to Democrats and Republicans alike. And I encourage President Barack Obama and the White House to take a similar step.

Club members, do you believe this will happen? Let's talk about it in the comments section.
Member Comments (4)

Will Republicans Start Earmarking Again?

Posted on Sep. 16, 10 | 10:39 AM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Pork
The POLITICO has a report out today indicating that House Republicans may start earmarking again after the November elections.  I stated that Boehner and Cantor should be careful if they allow that to happen.  Excerpt:

Conservative candidates and special interest groups are warning Washington Republicans that they better not backpedal on earmarks, which have been maligned as the “currency of corruption.” 

Andy Roth, the vice president for governmental affairs for the conservative watchdog Club for Growth, says that if Republican leadership won’t ban earmarking, “we need to find someone else who will.” 

“If they slip, I think they need to be removed,” Roth told POLITICO, referring to House GOP leadership. 
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Real or Fake?

Posted on Aug. 12, 10 | 04:09 PM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Pork
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Earmark Update

Posted on Jul. 29, 10 | 09:33 AM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Pork
A couple of things caught my eye this morning about earmarks.

First, there's this POLITICO story about how Sen. Richard Shelby (R) is helping former aides secure earmarks.  To the tune of over $250 million.  Yeah, the earmark process isn't corrupt.

Second, House Democrats are going to consider the Treasury-HUD appropriations bill today.  Reps. Hensarling, Campbell, and Flake all offered amendments to the bill that would strip out wasteful earmarks.  Despite approps bills historically being conducted under an open rule (all amendments are allowed), the Democrats said NO to Hensarling and Campbell, and then told Flake he could only offer 4 of his 10 amendments.

That means taxpayers will no be able to question the merits of a $500,000 streetscaping project in Canton, Ohio, or a $650,000 earmark for a creek path in Vermont, among hundreds of other pork projects in the bill.

Today is just another corrupt, business-as-usual day in Washington, DC.  Be grateful, taxpayers, the earmarkers in charge know what's best for us.
Member Comments (1)

Zach Wamps Should Secede from Appropriations

Posted on Jul. 29, 10 | 09:18 AM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Pork
Here's a scathing Wall Street Journal editorial on Rep. Zach Wamp, a Republican who is trying to shed his squishiness ahead of November by sounding like an extreme winger.
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