Friday, January 27, 2006

Hastert defends pork

Yeah, the GOP are really fiscal "conservatives." From the Washington Times:
Some members have proposed a ban on earmarks, but top Republican leaders such as House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois have defended the practice.

"Who knows best where to put a bridge or a highway or a red light in their district," he said in a radio interview with Michael Reagan this week. "We need to change how we do earmarks, we need to do it in the light of day and not the last minute type of situation, but I think we can do some reform on that and still serve what's in the best interest of the American people."

In a column yesterday in Roll Call, a newspaper covering Capitol Hill, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis, California Republican, said giving up earmarks would end the congressional power of the purse.
Hey, Hastert! It is not the responsibility of a taxpayer in Florida to fund a bridge in Illinois! It does not serve "the best interest of the American people" to have our paychecks confiscated to fund what are otherwise local projects! As a purported "conservative", you should know this, right?

Let's thank Congressman Jerry Lewis, sharing names with another less-than-funny American, for being upfront about the motivation behind pork: power. Giving up earmarks would end the "congressional power of the purse"? Do you mean Congress would not be allowed to fund defense or any other federal program if they weren't allowed to fund pork projects? Color me with the "skeptical" crayon on that assertion, Jerry!

The Congressional Research Service said earmarks have grown from 4,126 in 1994, the year before Republicans gained control of Congress, to 15,268 in 2005.
Let's see here. In 1994, Democrats controlled the Oval Office and both houses of Congress. Later that year, they lost the Congress to "fiscal conservatives." These "revolutionaries" were so conservative that they...nearly quadrupled the number of pork projects in the subsequent decade.

At least Sen. Coburn (R-OK) is serious about fighting pork. He promised to fight it when he ran for the Senate last year. He's pissed off his fellow Republicans for actually having the unmitigated gall to keep that campaign promise!