Friday, March 19, 2010

Earmarks cause rift in Republican family

Having current working relationships with officials at all levels of government is useful in applying for and allocating possible State and Fed grant money as well as accomplishing initiatives that require multiple government levels.

A great campaign theme … yet it is the quandary for Republican candidates this year … promoting access while prominent Republicans, like John Kline (MN-02), are denouncing “earmarks”.
Kline’s press release states his position clearly : “For four years, Congressman Kline has refused to participate in the earmarking process, instead advocating that federal funding decisions should be based on merit, rather than a Member’s seniority, party affiliation, or the committees on which they serve.

One has to wonder if Mr. Kline would have a problem with someone whose campaign emphasizes "working relationship" ?

Yet, it's that "working relationship" that "sets Kathy apart" ... or so says, Kathy Danner's website .
Her bio is : "Kathy is the wife of a Nissan man (meaning that he is employed at Nissan North American Headquarters), mother of two elementary schoolers, caregiver to one tick attracting dog and two over-fed gold fish. : ) She is also the daughter of US Congressman John Kline. Kathy and Ted gave up 2/3 of their combined income to stay home with their first child. They lived on $34,000 a year. Kathy grew up a Marine Corps kid. She is now a thriving WAHM (work at home mom) , an avid gardener, was a discussion Leader and now a member for Bible Study Fellowship International.

Mrs. Danner is a candidate for Williamson TN County Commissioner in the 4th District.

Voters will have to judge for themselves if Mrs. Danner will have any sway with her Father, but the point of this commentary is that earmarks are a source of controversy within the Republican Party.

While Mr. Kline press releases indicate that Republicans are all signing up for his “Pork-free Diet”, that just ain’t happening.

The Senate just voted on banning “earmarks” … and … well, let’s just say that a number of Republicans said NO -- Alexander (R-TN), Bond (R-MO), Bunning (R-KY), Cochran (R-MS), Collins (R-ME), Gregg (R-NH), Hutchison (R-TX), Inhofe (R-OK), Lugar (R-IN), Murkowski (R-AK), Roberts (R-KS), Shelby (R-AL), Snowe (R-ME), Voinovich (R-OH) and Wicker (R-MS). Most interesting is that a number of these Senators will be retiring this year, so if they brought home the “pork” or not, would not affect them at the ballot box.

Lamar Alexander expressed it correctly “I’m not ready to give away the Congress’ right to appropriate money… Under the Constitution, that’s my job.
Senator Alexander knows that “earmarks” only account for roughly two-percent of federal spending. (Note : Last year, Tennessee received more than half a billion dollars in earmarks for 130 projects. Yep, that Tennessee where Mrs. Danner is a candidate for elective office.)
Senator Alexander goes on to say, “But I don’t want that to be the whole discussion about debt reduction, because we could eliminate all the earmarks and we could still be on our way to Armageddon in terms of our national debt.”

Mr. Kline thinks that not participating in “earmarks” is the solution.
NO !
In fact, as Senator Jim Inhofe said prohibiting lawmakers from directing money to their states would give more power to President Barack Obama and the executive agency heads he appoints.

A better solution would be follow Tim Walz (D-MN-01) example getting citizen input in an open, accountable, and transparent appropriations process.

The Walz approach appears to be similar to the one that Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) used. She describes it as “The intent of the solicitation was for Members to identify those transportation projects in their districts that should receive funding from the Highway Trust Fund. The potential funding for these projects does not come from the Federal Treasury. Instead, the funds are collected from gas tax proceeds paid by Tennessee consumers dedicated only for the purpose of infrastructure development. As such, High Priority Projects do not increase the federal debt, nor do they create a future obligation for Tennessee Taxpayers. Failure to identify worthy projects in the 7th District would abdicate infrastructure development decisions to bureaucrats who may well spend the funds in ways that don’t meet our district’s needs. Congressman Blackburn, after consulting extensively with local officials and the Tennessee Department of Transportation, believes that her request list better meets 7th District needs than any bureaucratic effort could.

Mr. Kline and House Republicans, who calling for a moratorium on “earmarks”, are pushing a campaign issue … but history tells us that once the new session starts, the moratorium will be over … and for the Republicans, they hope to be in charge, and once again being able to re-establish those "working relationship" with newly empowered County Commissioners.

1 comment:

MickeyWhite said...

But 400 BILLION on unconstitutional health care is ok?

Prescription Drug Benefit.
The final version (conference report) of H.R. 1 would create a prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients. Beginning in 2006, prescription coverage would be available to seniors through private insurers for a monthly premium estimated at $35. There would be a $250 annual deductible, then 75 percent of drug costs up to $2,250 would be reimbursed. Drug costs greater than $2,250 would not be covered until out-ofpocket expenses exceeded $3,600, after which 95 percent of drug costs would be reimbursed. Low-income recipients would receive more subsidies than other seniors by paying lower premiums, having smaller deductibles, and making lower co-payments for each prescription. The total cost of the new prescription drug benefit would be limited to the $400 billion that Congress had budgeted earlier this year for the first 10 years of this new entitlement program. The House adopted the conference report on H.R. 1 on November 22, 2003 by a vote of 220 to 215 (Roll Call 669).
Marsha Blackburn Voted FOR this bill.
Marsha Blackburn is my Congressman.
See her unconstitutional votes at :
http://tinyurl.com/qhayna
Mickey