I know I wrote about this crazy spending bill yesterday, but at the risk of beating a dead horse, let me try this again. In the previous article, I focused on the items specifically related to funding the health care law, as per the list from Senator Tom Coburn’s website. Today, let’s look at the broader picture of the 6,000 plus earmarks that are being included in this end-of-year spending bill that has morphed into a nearly 2,000 page monster. From looking at the past actions of this particular Congress, none of us should be surprised.
FOX News has a link to the Senate website that lists the individual earmarks that have been requested. I intended to go through some of them and list them in this article, but we are talking about page after page after page of a pdf file. If I go that route, I will still be writing this article at high noon. Instead, I have provided the link to the page and we will examine just a few. If you will please note, the charts show that these earmark requests are coming from both the House and the Senate, from Democrats and Republicans. So much for a moratorium on requesting earmarks.
In total, thousands of earmark requests are listed. The financial services earmark chart, for instance, lists 220 earmark requests from dozens of lawmakers, mostly in the House, each worth anywhere from $50,000 to $2.4 million. The largest sum was requested by Inouye and his Hawaii colleague Sen. Daniel Akaka for “Bank on USA” demonstration projects” in their state. The projects are designed to give underserved communities greater access to financial institutions.
Elsewhere, the Department of Defense earmark list, mostly requests by senators, is 29 pages long and individual requests more often are worth $2 million to $5 million each. In that list, Inouye’s requests total more than $159 million, including $21 million for a Hawaii Federal Health Care Network. Cornyn’s defense spending earmarks total nearly $16 million.
Presently, we have two senators who are leading the fight to slow down or stop this massive travesty. Jim DeMint of South Carolina is teaming up with Tom Coburn of Oklahoma to insist a vote not be held on the bill until it has been read aloud, in it’s entirety. While that may sound like too little, too late, I think it is important that someone raising a fuss about this. Another member of Congress who is objecting to this spending bill is Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri. She, along with Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, is saying she will not support the spending bill unless it also contains a three-year cap on discretionary spending. She turned down an offer for a one-year cap.
This is the sort of thing that simply drives me crazy. At the end of the year, this Congress is trying to use the same tactics they used in passing the previous pork-laden stimulus bills and the health care law. Massive pieces of legislation, with everything under the sun attached, and no one really knows what they contain. How could they, since the vast majority of Congress hasn’t even read the stupid bill. Even though I normally love this time of the year, I will be glad when it is over. Maybe we can regain a little bit of sanity in Washington when the Republicans take control of the House. If we do not, you can expect more of these rants. Forgive me for sounding so frustrated, but this is well past being ridiculous.