May 21, 2024

Earmarks, the Other Pork Flavor

Speaking of politicians who change their tune as soon as they reach office, what ever happened to Democrats’ promises to run an open and transparent government?  CNN says not much:

Despite the new Democratic congressional leadership’s promise of “openness and transparency” in the budget process, a CNN survey of the House found it nearly impossible to get information on lawmakers’ pet projects.

Initially, staffers for only 34 of the 435 members of the House contacted by CNN between June 13 and 15 were willing to supply a list of their earmark requests for fiscal year 2008, which begins on October 1. Some of those 34 staffers simply pointed callers to Web sites where those earmark requests were posted.

Granted more have complied since then – they usually do, once the story starts to go against them – but what about this:

When Democrats regained control of Congress last fall, they promised to create the most honest, open Congress in history.

“We will bring transparency and openness to the budget process and to the use of earmarks,” Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi said in December 2006, “and we will give the American people the leadership they deserve.”

Liar.  It’s a new party but the same old same old.  The proof is in the pudding.  Today David Obey’s House Appropriations Committee Thursday approved $153 million in pet projects:

…rewarding both powerful and not-so-powerful lawmakers alike with 377 cherished “earmarks” for their home districts.

The unusual session was made necessary after Republicans forced Democrats to reverse plans to insert pet projects into bills before House debates rather than add them in closed-door House-Senate talks when it would be too late to challenge them.

Small wonder that the Democratic Congress has earned – earned, I say- the lowest approval rating of all time.

One bright spot in the debate over the despicable process of pork-barreling for the folks back home comes from Barack Obama, again: 

Democrat Barack Obama on Thursday revealed the 113 budget items he has requested in the Senate — known as “pet projects” or “pork” in the language of budget reform — and challenged his fellow presidential candidates to do the same.

Obama’s more than $300 million in earmark requests range from $33 million made along with other senators for a nationwide project to promote civics among students to $125,000 to add turn lanes and traffic lights at an intersection in rural Oregon, Ill.

“As a matter of transparency and good government, Obama thinks it’s important that voters know who their candidates are, what their sources of income are and whether they have any potential conflicts,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton said. “We would hope that other candidates follow suit in disclosing their earmarks as well.”

Good for you, Mr. Obama.

Seems like Obama is on a bit of a roll lately.  How exactly did he do that? 

Let’s see…  Seems like he simply told the truth about American fathers and the failure of men to fulfill their duty.  Then he followed up by revealing what he’d been trying to accomplish for his home state. 

All of our representatives ought to do the same thing, without us having to ask.  When you get down to it, this should be a requirement of the job.


Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.

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