Monday, April 30, 2007

On Earmarks: the More things Change...

This sounds a lot like the last Congress:

On March 15, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved a Water Resources Development Act reauthorization bill carrying nearly 600 projects for individual Members of Congress at a total cost of about $13 billion.

But by the time Congress overwhelmingly approved the bill on April 19, it had grown by about 115 projects that added almost $2 billion to the total cost of the bill, including $40 million each for unspecified water projects in the districts of Reps. John Mica (R-Fla.), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), Richard Baker (R-La.), Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) and John Duncan (R-Tenn.). Mica is the ranking member of the full committee; Johnson and Baker are the chairwoman and ranking member, respectively, of the subcommittee with jurisdiction over the bill; and Costello and Duncan headed the subcommittee in the 109th Congress, when the House passed a WRDA bill that died before it got to the president’s desk.

The Democrats promised dramatic reform of Congress, including openness and a reduction in earmarks. Is there any question that the promise was made because it was expedient, rather than because they actually intended to improve?

Update: Also check out the NTU site here.

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