Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Congressional Democrats Break Promise on Earmarks

Check out Mark Tapscott, Andrew Moylan, and Ed Frank.

Moylan notes that it appears that Congress will 'revive' earmarks by appropriating funds whose later expenditure must be subject to agreement between the White House and Congress. The language that he references is the sort of earmarking I raised a flag about some time ago.

Ed Frank raises a valid point: if this language becomes law, the President should consider directing the agencies not to co-operate in earmarking taxpayer dollars. Before that happens however, the Republican minority should raise a stink about it - particularly since the Democrats have again shut them out of the debate.

The text of the bill is here.

Note by the way, that the same mechanism Moylan references is used in other places in the bill - on page 129 for GSA, and pages 132 and 134 for Washington DC assistance, for example. I also note that on page 89 of the bill, the previously-agreed-to list of Army land acquisition expenditures is stricken, and replaced by a a list of just two such acquisitions - apparently Fort Lee in Virginia and Fort Lewis in Washington (those are the last two in the list on pages 366-367 in this referenced report). I'm not sure what that's about. (Note: not all earmarks are created equal. As far as I know, this particular account is not high on the list for pork. These projects could have been requested by the White House. But this meets the definition of an earmark - in that it is Congressionaly-mandated spending on a specific project).

Plus, I see no mention on Thomas of the committee report accompanying the legislation. It would be very unusual (thought not unprecedented) for there not to be a committee report, and that's usually where the earmarks are spelled out.

I'm sure others will find more.

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