Wednesday, January 12, 2011

GOP “cardinals” say pork moratorium only temporary

It appears some of the Republicans still do not get the message, a message that needs to be loud and clear by the next primary season. The Tea Party should get working on finding "qualified" and "attractive" candidates to challenge both Democrats and Republicans that believe they have the right to spend the taxpayers' money any why they see fit.

Three Republican cardinals on the House Appropriations Committee say they view the ban on earmarks as temporary and that lawmakers should retain the right to direct spending to their districts.

None of the three spending-subcommittee chairmen have a specific timeframe or plan in mind to resume earmarks, but they said earmarking should be restored once the public has more confidence in the process.

“I don’t find a problem with me deciding that I want some of the money in the state and tribal assistance grants going to help a community in Idaho rebuild their water system,” said Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), the new chairman of the Interior and Environment spending subcommittee and a close friend of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who ushered in the new GOP rules.

“I can make that determination because I know that district better than somebody from the EPA,” he added.

If Simpson thinks he knows better than the EPA about how to spend money, which is a pretty low bar to set in any case, then let Simpson propose those projects as separate bills subject to votes by the full House. At least that way, his choice of spending money has full public accountability — and since it would exist separate from other appropriations bills, would have no undue influence on votes on other funding. There should especially be more scrutiny when elected officials try to direct federal funds to their own districts rather than the under-the-radar pork method. That kind of sunlight would go a long way towards discovering graft and corruption before the money gets spent, rather than a couple of years or more down the road — especially when the road is named the Senator Foghorn Leghorn Highway, leading to the Senator Foghorn Leghorn Airport.

And even apart from the substantive problems with pork, is it so difficult to deal with accountability that the porkers couldn’t even wait a fortnight in the new session of Congress to start dreaming of the day when they could get back to bacon-hunting?

Read full Hot Air article here.

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