An Ol' Broad's Ramblings
Archive for 4 November 2007
Even though members of Congress cut back their pork barrel spending this year, House lawmakers still tacked on to the military appropriations bill $1.8 billion to pay 580 private companies for projects the Pentagon did not request.
One point eight billion. 1,800,000,000. Dollars. Private companies.
The list is topped by the veteran earmark champions Representative John P. Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat who is the chairman of the powerful defense appropriations subcommittee, and Representative C. W. Bill Young of Florida, the top Republican on the panel, who asked for $166 million and $117 million respectively. It also includes $92 million in requests from Representative Jerry Lewis, Republican of California, a committee member who is under federal investigation for his ties to a lobbying firm whose clients often benefited from his earmarks.
The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, requested $32 million in earmarks, while Steny H. Hoyer, the majority leader, asked for $26 million for projects in the $459.6 billion defense bill, the largest of the appropriations bills that go through Congress. (Dhimmis by the way)
Not one of those named should be re-elected, for any office. We’ve allowed those who supposedly represent us to legally rob us for way too long. This is a defense bill. Defense is what it should be funding. Period.
As promised when they took control of Congress in January, House Democratic leaders cut in half from last year the value of earmarks in the bill, as they did in the other 11 agency spending measures. But some lawmakers complained that the leadership failed to address what it had called a â€œculture of corruptionâ€ in which members seek earmarks to benefit corporate donors. Earmarks have been a recurring issue in recent Congressional scandals, most recently the 2005 conviction of Representative Randy Cunningham, Republican of California, for accepting bribes from defense contractors.
IMHO, all these earmarks are just one more symptom of the ‘culture of corruption’. It’s real easy to spend someone else’s money, and they do it so well. Wasting what we’ve worked hard to gain, and doing it with flair, in an attempt to get re-elected.
â€œPork hasnâ€™t gone away at all,â€ said Representative Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, an earmark critic who cites the â€œcircular fund-raisingâ€ surrounding many of them. â€œIt would be wonderful if this was a partisan issue, with Republicans on the right side, but it is really not. Many of these companies use money appropriated through earmarks to turn around and lobby for more money. Some of them are just there to receive earmarks.â€
And yet, we keep electing them. We complain, and do nothing to fix the problem. If anyone has forgotten, this is OUR government, they work for US!
â€œThe fiscal fallout of earmarks is trivial,â€ he said. But they can lead to â€œconflicts of interest, the irrational and unconstructive allocation of resources, or their use by Congressional leaders as carrots and sticks to buy votes for larger measures that clearly lack majority support on the merits.â€
They might be trivial to some, but for those who actually have to WORK for a living, they aren’t so trivial when said earmarks are keeping you from sending your kids to college, or getting a new car. Or even getting the old one fixed. It’s small potatoes to the gubmint. It’s a life to us peons.
The House version of the military bill includes 1,337 earmarks totaling $3 billion, the most Congressional earmarks in any of the spending bills passed this year. A conference committee is now reconciling House and Senate versions. The Senate added $5 billion in earmarks, but it is difficult to determine the sponsors because it has no disclosure rules.
And just why aren’t there any disclosures? Oh yeah, cuz they don’t us lowly folk to know who is more corrupt, and greedy, than the others.
Honestly, I don’t care what party you are affiliated with, remember who sent you there, and the original job you were sent to do.Â That did not include wasting money on your fat cat buds.Â Got that Murtha, you sleaze?