Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Pork Belly: Another Name for Yellow Belly Sap Sucking House Republican

Funny how time flies when you are having fun. Just two years ago, the November massacre occurred in Washington, DC and the Congress, bring in a flock of freshmen tea part republicans vowing to change the political as usual mantra inside the beltway.

I guess some folks can talk a mean game, especially when they just talk out the side of their necks. It was just less than two years ago on November 22, 2010 when the House Republicans Vote to End Earmarks. It was supposed to be an important first step toward fundamentally changing the way taxpayer dollars are spent in Washington” since a large corpus of US citizens see earmarks as wasteful spending and another form of corruption. At the time, Doug Lamborn (CO-05) wrote on his webpage, “The new House Republican Majority is firmly committed to cutting spending, reining in government, and listening to the people who sent us here. We have an enormous task ahead to get America’s fiscal house in order. Today’s vote to end earmarks is proof that Republicans are serious about ending wasteful spending.” He added, “I call on my Democrat colleagues in the House and Senate to get equally serious about reforming Washington and pass their own earmark bans. The task before us requires a bipartisan commitment to reform.”

Earmarking is the longtime Washington practice in which lawmakers insert money for home-state projects. Although it was said they this practice would end if Cut-happy Republicans were elected to office, it has not and the practice of embedding legislation with billions of dollars in pet projects and federal contracts is still alive and well on Capitol Hill.

Personally, only a fool would have believed that earmarks would be obviated completely in Washington, in particular for the GOP clowns who vowed to end them and even got elected for having such position. But their effort to permanently ban earmarks has split Republicans with a majority wanting to go back to earmarking, even placing them in contradiction with GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney, who according to A spokeswoman for the former Massachusetts governor is in favor of a permanent earmark ban.

Even in 2010, just days after the Senate GOP caucus imposed a voluntary moratorium on earmarking, Sen. Jon Kyl, the No. 2 Senate Republican, dropped $200 million to settle an Arizona Indian tribe’s water rights claim against the government for his home state via a spending bill right before final passage. There is Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, won an additional $20 million for "mixed conventional load capability for Air Force bombers." Hartzler's district is home to Whiteman Air Force Base, keeper of the nation's B-2 bombers, and Fort Leonard Wood.

In fact, during the 111th Congress, six sitting Republican senators voted against considering a three-year earmark moratorium: Sens. Thad Cochran (Miss.), Susan Collins (Maine), James Inhofe (Okla.), Dick Lugar (Ind.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Richard Shelby (Ala.).

But this is not all. Republicans wolf tickets were all about stopping excessive government and bring an end to earmarks reflect another reality of the GOP that is rarely talked about – their two-facedness (if such is a word.)

Even last summer, when the $553 billion bill providing a budget for the Pentagon was passed, it contained millions of dollars that President Barack Obama didn't request for other projects in places from Illinois to Mississippi represented by House GOP freshmen. Including $2.5 million for weapons and munitions advanced technology, money for the Quad City Manufacturing Lab at the Rock Island Arsenal in freshman Rep. Bobby Schilling's Illinois district. Ironic since during his 2010 campaign, the tea party-backed, pizza-business owner Schilling ran against Democratic Rep. Phil Hare’s penchant for earmarking. Then there is also Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who bought Vista Medical Center and requested $2 million to expand the road in front of his “long-term investment,” in 2008 but only received $245,000 from the government. Eventually receiving an additional $570,000 he personally earmarked to widen the road, add bus stops, improve the sewer system, and other utility work to benefit his business investment.

Now the sad story line is that for many in the GOP, these are not considered as Earmarks. Now they have a new name for these which is described by the New York Times as “special funds in spending and authorization bills that allow them to direct money to projects in their states.”

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill recently released a report finding that members of the U.S. House of Representatives attempted to side step their own self-imposed ban on earmarks, via methods designed by the House Armed Services Committee’s Chairman, Howard McKeon (R-Cali.). It was effective since of the 225 amendments to the legislation that were approved by the House Armed Services Committee, McCaskill proved that 115 of the amendments added had previously been earmarks$834 million in proposed federal spending. More damaging was that of the earmarks secretly inserted into the legislation, 20 were from freshman House GOP members who at one time or another campaigned to end earmarks. Sad truth is that earmarks do not account for no more than 1 percent of the entire federal budget.

I do not know if things will ever change inside the beltway.I do know it is getting more difficult each day to find a politician, democrat or republican that is working on behalf of the people moreso that doing work because of the feeling of owing favors to those that may have greased their palms. It is as Mark Twain said, “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.”

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