Kyl: A 200 Million Dollar Earmark? No! It’s A…Settlement. Yeah! That’s the Ticket.

posted at 4:45 pm on November 24, 2010 by Jimmie Bise, Jr

None of us expected that Republicans members of Congress would easily lay down the re-election security binkies we call earmarks. There were always going to be holdouts like Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) and Senator James Inhofe (R-Porkopolis) who we’d have to crowbar into grudging, grumbling compliance. However, our task is going to be much more difficult if we can’t keep the more stalwart earmark foes in line.

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans’ ban on earmarks – money included in a bill by a lawmaker to benefit a home-state project or interest – was short-lived.

Only three days after GOP senators and senators-elect renounced earmarks, Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, the No. 2 Senate Republican, got himself a whopping $200 million to settle an Arizona Indian tribe’s water rights claim against the government.

Kyl slipped the measure into a larger bill sought by President Barack Obama and passed by the Senate on Friday to settle claims by black farmers and American Indians against the federal government. Kyl’s office insists the measure is not an earmark, and the House didn’t deem it one when it considered a version earlier this year.

Kyl does have an argument here. The money is a settlement that will probably get the taxpayers off the hook for a more costly round of settlements later. It’s not an earmark in the “I’m going to set aside a few million bucks so one of my campaign contributors can get a big construction project” sense. However, Kyl did stick his request into a bill like it was an earmark and the cash will go to a potentially powerful constituent group inside his own state. It may not be an earmark like all the others, but it has the sneaky look of one. The tenor of his defense, which can be summed up as “It’s technically legal!” isn’t exactly convincing.

None of that serves as an excuse. As Senate Republican Whip, Kyl has a higher profile than almost every other Republican and his clear promise not to take earmarks and his vote for a moratorium earlier this year drew a bright line he should never have approached. Kyl’s dip into the trough, even if he can technically justify it, smells enough like an earmark to make him a target of the Democrats and their online flying monkey squadron. For that reason alone he should have introduced it as a stand-alone bill, defended it openly, and won the support he needed to get it passed on its own merits.

This little episode should be a lesson to those who represent us in Congress. If there is a project worth taking the money of hard-working Americans to support, then it should be able to withstand an open and rigorous debate. If it can’t, if it has to be slipped into another bill when no one is looking, then it is not worthy. Let that be the rule by which every spending proposal is measured and the American people will start to trust Congress again.


Jimmie runs The Sundries Shack and has his own very entertaining podcast called “The Delivery”. He is also an amateur musician, an aspiring composer, an unrepentant geek and an avid fan of Twitter.

Edited to clean up a runaway link tag. Thanks!


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This where Al Gore’s remark applies:

“There is no controlling authority…”

You got that right.

BobMbx on November 24, 2010 at 4:49 PM

Clean up needed in lead sentence.
And who says Kyl is a stalwart? the guy is as squishy as they come.

james23 on November 24, 2010 at 4:49 PM

I hate hypocrites like this! A big disappointment.
Don’t come looking my way for any donations, Kyl!

michaelo on November 24, 2010 at 4:49 PM

Open and honest debate?

None of these political scum could withstand the scrutiny.

rickyricardo on November 24, 2010 at 4:51 PM

Kyl slipped the measure into a larger bill sought by President Barack Obama and passed by the Senate on Friday to settle claims by black farmers and American Indians against the federal government. Kyl’s office insists the measure is not an earmark, and the House didn’t deem it one when it considered a version earlier this year.

Earmarks are not the problem.

HOW they are implemented is the problem.

This secretive slippage of earmarks into bills is the problem here.

blatantblue on November 24, 2010 at 4:53 PM

OT: Hmmmmm.

ConservativePartyNow on November 24, 2010 at 4:53 PM

It beginning to seem that we can’t reach these folks in their ivy covered offices on the Hill. What on earth does it take to make these take sincere and honest notice? Let’s hope the younger crowd has figured out that we are now Big Brother and we ARE watching. The old guys can’t seem to shake loose of the old ways. Time to turn over the ground and plant a fresh crop of GOP too.

jeanie on November 24, 2010 at 4:53 PM

blah blah blah… this country is screwed.

wheelgun on November 24, 2010 at 4:56 PM

None of us expected that Republicans members of Congress would easily Senator James Inhofe (R-Porkopolis) who we’d have to crowbar into grudging, grumbling compliance.

O_o

Free Constitution on November 24, 2010 at 5:00 PM

Do we still believe any of these guys are going to keep their word? Do we believe that anything has changed, that anything will be cut, or that they won’t join with the Democrats to screw over their constituents? Do we still believe?

sharrukin on November 24, 2010 at 5:01 PM

Earmarks are not the problem.

HOW they are implemented is the problem.

This secretive slippage of earmarks into bills is the problem here.

blatantblue on November 24, 2010 at 4:53 PM

Earmarks are the problem. If the expenditure is worthy, it could get passed on its own merit, not hidden in a different bill.

Slowburn on November 24, 2010 at 5:06 PM

If it’s a good idea it should be voted on as a separate bill.

FloatingRock on November 24, 2010 at 5:07 PM

For that reason alone he should have introduced it as a stand-alone bill, defended it openly, and won the support he needed to get it passed on its own merits.

Nail, meet hammer.

It is going to be a long two years. *le sigh*

itzWicks on November 24, 2010 at 5:10 PM

And who says Kyl is a stalwart? the guy is as squishy as they come.

james23 on November 24, 2010 at 4:49 PM

Good point. Most of the time when pundits refer to “moderate” Republicans the subjects are actually liberal. In this case the “stalwart” conservative is actually a real moderate, (at best).

FloatingRock on November 24, 2010 at 5:10 PM

Slowburn on November 24, 2010 at 5:06 PM

Well if they were implemented in an open, honest way, half wouldn’t make it, so again, the process is the problem.

blatantblue on November 24, 2010 at 5:15 PM

Splitting hairs, though. We’re on the same side of the issue.

blatantblue on November 24, 2010 at 5:15 PM

Arizona and its RINOs. Not that I should talk here in CA.

Grayson on November 24, 2010 at 5:17 PM

Kyl’s dip into the trough, even if he can technically justify it, smells enough like an earmark to make him a target of the Democrats and their online flying monkey squadron

And after the flying monkey squadron, a little something from the right pane.

Feedie on November 24, 2010 at 5:18 PM

Do we still believe?

sharrukin on November 24, 2010 at 5:01 PM

For those that did, this will hopefully give them a reality check. I felt cynical for believing we’d see these liars pulling this crap after Jan. 1. Now I’m embarassed to have thought they’d even pretend campaign promises would be kept … for a couple of months as election expectations cooled.

These are the brilliant politicians the Freshman are supposed to learn from?

Perfesser on November 24, 2010 at 5:19 PM

Darn it! Make them illegal. Don’t leave it in the hands of crooked politicians to do the right thing…they simply won’t.

JIMV on November 24, 2010 at 5:22 PM

Now I’m embarassed to have thought they’d even pretend campaign promises would be kept … for a couple of months as election expectations cooled.

These are the brilliant politicians the Freshman are supposed to learn from?

Perfesser on November 24, 2010 at 5:19 PM

They started backtracking within days of the midterms and now its starting to look like its open season on any outsiders. They are trying to co-opt the new freshmen coming in and I suspect they will do a good enough job of that as well.

I don’t know what is going to happen.

sharrukin on November 24, 2010 at 5:22 PM

facepalm

Tim Zank on November 24, 2010 at 5:25 PM

None of us expected that Republicans members of Congress would easily Senator James Inhofe (R-Porkopolis) who we’d have to crowbar into grudging, grumbling compliance.

Anyone know wtf this is supposed to mean?

Jaibones on November 24, 2010 at 5:26 PM

The more things change the more they remain the same.

roflmao

donabernathy on November 24, 2010 at 5:27 PM

On-Topic:

I call BS. This is apparently exactly what he says it is: more money for oppressed race-victims, properly extorted from tax-paying citizens by immoral and clever lawyers for whiny minorities, and properly associated with a bill to fund such extortion by other whiny minority victims.

Let’s not call every example of government spending an earmark. These guys are bad enough on their own; we don’t need to make up stupid sh!t to crucify them.

Jaibones on November 24, 2010 at 5:31 PM

Jaibones on November 24, 2010 at 5:31 PM

Then it should be a bill, not an earmark.

FloatingRock on November 24, 2010 at 5:36 PM

What gets me about this ‘settlement’ is that apparently it applies to people who would have been farmers if…. I would have been a lawyer if the government had given me the money. Where’s my compensation for a future destroyed by lack of government funding. These whining money grabbers and their lawyers, quite frankly, disgust me.

jeanie on November 24, 2010 at 5:37 PM

While I am part Native American from the western U.S. and know how sensitive water rights are, I still don’t approve of the way this was done. Stop making it even look like an earmark and make it come to the floor for an up/down vote on its own merit. Obviously it wasn’t just the Democrats who didn’t get the message with the midterm elections.

MeAlice on November 24, 2010 at 5:38 PM

Earmarks are not the problem.

HOW they are implemented is the problem.

This secretive slippage of earmarks into bills is the problem here.

blatantblue on November 24, 2010 at 4:53 PM

Right, we are losing this issue over definitions. I suspect that everyone in congress knows damn well what an earmark is, and many of them are pushing the ‘what is an earmark anyway’ story because they are opposed to reform.

slickwillie2001 on November 24, 2010 at 5:39 PM

OT: Hmmmmm.

ConservativePartyNow on November 24, 2010 at 4:53 PM

Security Theater. Who will report this story?

batterup on November 24, 2010 at 5:45 PM

OT: Hmmmmm.

ConservativePartyNow on November 24, 2010 at 4:53 PM

Security Theater. Who will report this story?

batterup on November 24, 2010 at 5:45 PM

As with liberal judges, it’s not a systems problem; it’s a crooked politicians problem. The only answer is yanking them out and kicking them to the curb.

Feedie on November 24, 2010 at 5:48 PM

‘what is an earmark anyway’ story because they are opposed to reform.

slickwillie2001 on November 24, 2010 at 5:39 PM

Well now, aren’t earmark defenders right? The question we all should be asking ourselves is, just what is an earmark. Doesn’t it depend upon what the definition of the word “is”, is? /s

FloatingRock on November 24, 2010 at 5:51 PM

None of us expected that Republicans members of Congress would easily Senator James Inhofe (R-Porkopolis) who we’d have to crowbar into grudging, grumbling compliance.

Can someone diagram this sentence for me?

Count to 10 on November 24, 2010 at 5:58 PM

There will be another election in two years,some people don’t get the message the first time.The message is,from John Kay”Remember if you care to stay,those who give can take away.Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”
Do I have to keep on saying it:TWO CYCLES,NO INCUMBENTS

re:CPN @4:53
Excellent catch,thank you.
Its only the busiest travel day of the year,so what could go wrong?
Liberal logic ,isn’t it great?

DDT on November 24, 2010 at 6:00 PM

Can someone diagram this sentence for me?

Count to 10 on November 24, 2010 at 5:58 PM

I think it’s an unfinished edit job.

FloatingRock on November 24, 2010 at 6:00 PM

…of course that’s obvious….

FloatingRock on November 24, 2010 at 6:01 PM

I fixed the errant link so the first paragraph makes sense now. Thanks for catching that guys!

Jimmie Bise, Jr on November 24, 2010 at 6:44 PM

Maybe he thinks taht the economy need a shot in the arm!

OUCH!

http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to-administer-subcutaneous-injection-195379/

IlikedAUH2O on November 24, 2010 at 6:49 PM

I really don’t have a problem with earmarks used judiciously. If they can get back to keeping them to a minimum and for issues within the purview of the Federal Government.

Nethicus on November 24, 2010 at 6:55 PM

Our memories are as sharp as carpet tacks and you RHINOS will be history in the next election. The old ones and the new ones will be history. The clean up of our government is only going to happen through the ballot box because of the mistrust of politicians that lie and lean on the double standard that protects them.

mixplix on November 24, 2010 at 7:05 PM

online flying monkey squadron

I went there and made the mistake of opening an “article” at Think Progress. The left say they are the tolerant ones and the right are the haters. The so-called article was about Sarah Palin. The comments were filled with such unbridled loathing and venom that I was stunned. I didn’t think that people could be so consumed with that much hatred. It must suck to be so miserable and unhappy.

Big John on November 24, 2010 at 10:13 PM

Oh, and another thing, knowing how truly vile the lefties are deep down, I’d take ten Kyl’s over one true believer progressive any day.

Big John on November 24, 2010 at 10:17 PM

This is the Shirley Sherrod Settlement, right?

Jason Coleman on November 25, 2010 at 1:12 AM

Then it should be a bill, not an earmark.

FloatingRock on November 24, 2010 at 5:36 PM

Really? You’re such a hard-line stickler for procedure that a bill funding a racial discrimination lawsuit settlement cannot be funded from a bill funding a racial discrimination lawsuit settlement?

Really?

Jaibones on November 25, 2010 at 1:59 AM

One of the first things my caucasian brethren accomplished upon arrival in the desert southwest with sufficient numbers was chasing the aboriginals away from the water. Just sayin’.

exdeadhead on November 25, 2010 at 6:31 AM

Legislation in the Claims Resolution Act is fully offset and is therefore budget neutral. The bill must still be approved by the U.S. House of Representatives before going to the President for signature into law.

A little rabble rousing with your turkey Jimmy?

oldernwiser on November 25, 2010 at 7:39 AM

However, Kyl did stick his request into a bill like it was an earmark and the cash will go to a potentially powerful constituent group inside his own state. It may not be an earmark like all the others, but it has the sneaky look of one. The tenor of his defense, which can be summed up as “It’s technically legal!” isn’t exactly convincing.

Perhaps we need to tweak the definition of what it is that we don’t like about Congress. It’s “stealth spending.” Hiding unrelated things in bigger bills that people have to vote for in order to achieve the “greater” objective.

If Congressmen are less likely to vote in favor of things that stand alone, well, that’s a feature and not a bug of eliminating earmarks.

disa on November 25, 2010 at 8:28 AM

Kyle is a solid Senator and we are lucky to have him in Arizona.

arizonateacher on November 25, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Kyle is a solid Senator and we are lucky to have him in Arizona.

arizonateacher on November 25, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Exactly. VERY SOLID like…

John McCain?

TheAlamos on November 25, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Solid or not, he stuck a 200 million dollar giveaway into a bill for a giveaway in his own state. Does anyone think the beneficiary tribe won’t show its gratitude in some meaningful way?

Either we are against this stuff or we will come up with a way to rationalize it when it is done by those we otherwise like. Either a line is drawn or we just wasted a lot of time and more of our own money in the last election. From what I’ve read, part of Kyl’s response was that the Obama Administration was in favor of it. WTF kind of defense is that? Isn’t that the point???

This should be pulled out and voted on seperately. It will give Congress another bill to debate in the lame duck session. Or is Kyl trying to save time so they can get to repeal of DADT and a vote on the DREAM Act??

DaMav on November 25, 2010 at 2:46 PM

And another thing. If we let this stand as precedent and don’t raise a major stink every earmark slipped into a bill by liberals is going to result in a but “Kyl did it and the hypocrite Republicans didn’t complain”.

DaMav on November 25, 2010 at 3:27 PM