Monday, June 23, 2008

Will John Kline Lobby Norm Coleman on Earmark Proposal

Have you made your 2009 New Year’s Resolution yet ?

Well, according to The Hill, the Senate Republican are scheduled to discuss a conference-wide rule change and policy statement regarding earmarks on Tuesday.

So, will John “Pork-Free” Kline lobby Norm “Minnesota’s $10,780,000 Man” Coleman ?
Will it make any difference ?

Well, first of all, the changes would take effect the first day of the next Congress. This is not the first time Republicans have tried this joke before as some Republicans called for a six month moratorium on earmarks … what a joke … we have a Fiscal Year … all the money gets authorized at year end, so what would 6 months due ?

This meeting is a result of a meeting at the beginning of the year which was reported by Roll Call.
Senate Republicans outlined a modest election-year agenda Wednesday based on the cooperative, bipartisan approach that new Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) has pushed while avoiding issues like immigration and earmark reform that have caused rifts within the party.
Republican leaders … made it clear during the retreat that they would not support any effort by President Bush to strip earmarks from this year’s omnibus bill and saw no need to overhaul the practice … arguing any move {by Bush} to eliminate the earmarks would be an inappropriate infringement on Congress’ authority to appropriate funding.
A Senator attending the retreat said later, "to the extent that the floor was open I didn't hear much opposition... I kept expecting to hear someone say 'yeah but earmarks are evil,' but I didn't."

Also, The Washington Examiner writes
House Republican Whip Roy Blunt R-MO, has reportedly warned administration officials that meddling with earmarks will anger GOP members who are responsible for 40 percent of those in the 2008 spending bills.”

Republicans, based on their votes and comments by party leaders, are not serious about ending the use of earmarks.
And they shouldn’t.
All earmarks are not pork barrel spending. Without earmarks, the Executive Branch can spend funds as they deem appropriate.
For example, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention which issued grants to youth golf programs and other projects--often run by administration cronies.
Or, the $350 to $500 million spent on Al-Hurra -- "The Free One" –US sponsored Arabic television.
Or, even $2.4 million for COMIC BOOKS !

There are plenty of “projects” that should be carefully reviewed, that’s why transparency and accountability are important.

The Republican Senators policy change is just an election year campaign trick to garner some media attention … and like many New Year’s Resolutions will be long forgotten by mid-2009.

John Kline’s pork-free diet has only cost the State getting a fair return on the monies that Minnesota taxpayers have sent to Washington.

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