Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has more than $75 million worth of earmarks in the omnibus spending bill, offering a tempting target to Democrats looking to score political points.Just in case you're interested, the GOP accounted for over 40% of the 9,000 "earmarks" in the recent stimulus bill. But of course, earmarks are bad cause the Democrats get em'. And we know the Dems don't really have the nads to call em' out of on this blatant hypocrisy. Nothing new there.
Democrats are still angry about the political battering they took from Republicans over billions of dollars’ worth of spending in the economic stimulus package — and they’re looking to get even. The projects put McConnell (Ky.) in something of an awkward position, as he is now the de facto leader of the Republican Party, which has made earmarks a symbol of wasteful spending in Washington.
The earmarks McConnell asked for in the omnibus include $950,000 for the Western Kentucky University bikeway project, $427,000 for the Gunpowder Creek trail in Boone County and $1.6 million for the Forage Animal Production Research Laboratory in Lexington. In total, McConnell has received 53 of the earmarks he requested, totaling $75.5 million, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan group that tracks federal spending. The group provided a list of McConnell’s earmarks, including funding requests made with other lawmakers, to The Hill on Monday.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has 108 earmarks worth $108 million in the legislation pending this week in the Senate. The package costs $410 billion in total. But Democrats have not made earmarks the rallying cry of government reform to the degree Republicans have.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the party’s recent standard-bearer, often railed against earmarks on the presidential campaign trail, even though they account for a minuscule portion of the federal budget.
McConnell touted the money he secured for Kentuckians during his reelection campaign last year. Some Republicans grumble in private that McConnell’s pursuit of earmarks blunts their attacks against Democrats for wasteful spending.
Several are disappointed that a GOP task force on earmark reform that McConnell created in the 110th Congress never made much progress. He criticized the omnibus Monday for funneling money to 122 programs already funded by the stimulus package and adding an 8 percent increase to last year’s spending bills.
While I don't really agree with all these "earmarks" being in the stimulus package, I'm by no means against them on general principle. Every politician's job is to represent his constituents, and part of this representation means getting money directly funnelled to them. Nine times out of ten, this money isn't frivolously spent. It usually funds worthwhile projects like schools, community centers, social programs, and construction projects that directly benefit citizens on a day-to-day basis. Of course these perfectly good uses of federal money are often bastardized when you see such misuses as the infamous Bridge To Nowhere. And I don't need to tell you what party was responsible for that nonsense.
Listening to Obama spout endlessly about the lack of earmarks in his Stimulus Plan is like listening to my wife compliment my sangin' skills. Sure, it feels and sounds great to hear, but we both know she's lying. Still, I wonder if Obama really even needed to make a big deal of this, or if he was just responding to John McCain's election season rallying cry. In case you didn't know, Mr. McCain, noted Muslim himself, consumes quite a bit of pork too.
Enough already. Just be straight with us, folks. It's perfectly fine to give your hometown constituents something tangible to show in exchange for their votes. But when everything's so hyperpoliticized, even these great intentions can get distorted.
Besides, I love bacon.
Question: Does the amount of pork in Obama's spending plans concern you? How do you reconcile the outright lie Obama keeps telling about the lack of earmarks in his budget and stimulus plan thus far? Does the two-faced nature of the GOP on this issue puzzle you as much as it does me? Are all earmarks bad? Do you love bacon too? Did you realize Canadian bacon is really just thick-cut ham?
GOP leader gives critics $75M target [The Hill]