Monday, December 18, 2006

Democrats Still Like Earmarks & Favors

It looks like Harry Reid isn't totally on board with the new Democratic plan of opposing earmarks and dead-of-night favors for political supporters:

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, who has pledged to stop ``dead-of-night legislating,'' did a little of his own in the final hours of this year's congressional session.

Reid slipped two home state projects into the last major bill Congress passed last week: a transfer of federal land in Nevada to state and private control that's almost two-thirds the size of Rhode Island; and a $4 million grant for a hospice. Neither had been approved by any congressional committee.

Reid said the land measure will help Las Vegas and other cities in his state grow and the hospice money rights a flawed Medicare ruling. One senator and some government watchdog groups criticized the actions, pointing to promises by Reid and the new Democratic majority in Congress to change a lawmaking process known for targeted funding and secretive deals.

``Doing anything last minute shoved into an irrelevant measure -- that's exactly what Harry Reid said he was going to stop,'' said Steve Ellis, vice president of programs at Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington-based nonprofit that monitors government spending. ``It goes against the grain of transparency and openness.''

Not all of Reid's Nevada constituents are happy with the results. Approval of the land measure surprised a major purported beneficiary, the government of White Pine County.

Actually, I suppose this came under the old, Republican Senate leadership - so it probably doesn't count. Next year, when Harry Reid is Majority Leader, Harry Reid won't get away with shenanigans like this.

Hat Tip: TPMMuckraker

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