GOP “cardinals” say pork moratorium only temporary

posted at 3:35 pm on January 12, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Perhaps it might take more than one election for the message to sink into the heads of Republican leadership.  Three of the GOP “cardinals” on the House Appropriations Committee only waited a week before reminding people that the moratorium on pork is only temporary, and that they look forward to the day when members can earmark funds for their own districts:

Three Republican cardinals on the House Appropriations Committee say they view the ban on earmarks as temporary and that lawmakers should retain the right to direct spending to their districts.

None of the three spending-subcommittee chairmen have a specific timeframe or plan in mind to resume earmarks, but they said earmarking should be restored once the public has more confidence in the process.

“I don’t find a problem with me deciding that I want some of the money in the state and tribal assistance grants going to help a community in Idaho rebuild their water system,” said Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), the new chairman of the Interior and Environment spending subcommittee and a close friend of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who ushered in the new GOP rules.

“I can make that determination because I know that district better than somebody from the EPA,” he added.

The problem is that both Republicans and Democrats have spent the last twenty years that they can’t keep from abusing earmarks.  They get used mainly for buying support or self-aggrandizement rather than to ensure efficient use of taxpayer money.  Worse, pork gives lawmakers a big stake in passing bloated spending bills rather than fight for cuts in spending as politicians divvy up spoils in order to ensure passage.  That’s one of the reasons why the failure of the omnibus spending bill in the lame-duck session was such big news; usually, the pork that festoons those bills ensure their passage.

Furthermore, Congress has imposed requirements on executive-branch agencies for competitive bidding on projects like rebuilding water systems, or buying socks for soldiers and Marines, and so on.  Those rules force at least some accountability in procurement and contracting with the federal government, although that remains an area where reform would do some good.  But Congress doesn’t have to abide by those rules with earmarks at all; members can pick winners (and losers) themselves with their line items without any sort of accountability at all.

If Simpson thinks he knows better than the EPA about how to spend money, which is a pretty low bar to set in any case, then let Simpson propose those projects as separate bills subject to votes by the full House.  At least that way, his choice of spending money has full public accountability — and since it would exist separate from other appropriations bills, would have no undue influence on votes on other funding.  There should especially be more scrutiny when elected officials try to direct federal funds to their own districts rather than the under-the-radar pork method.  That kind of sunlight would go a long way towards discovering graft and corruption before the money gets spent, rather than a couple of years or more down the road — especially when the road is named the Senator Foghorn Leghorn Highway, leading to the Senator Foghorn Leghorn Airport.

And even apart from the substantive problems with pork, is it so difficult to deal with accountability that the porkers couldn’t even wait a fortnight in the new session of Congress to start dreaming of the day when they could get back to bacon-hunting?


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Perhaps it might take more than one election to replace for the message to sink into the heads of Republican leadership.

FIFY.

Rebar on January 12, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Either the earmark ban or the cardinals’ public service will be temporary. They’ll take their pick.

obladioblada on January 12, 2011 at 3:38 PM

especially when the road is named the Senator Foghorn Leghorn Highway, leading to the Senator Foghorn Leghorn Airport.

Ed, you’re dating yourself. And me.

Chickenhawk.

BobMbx on January 12, 2011 at 3:39 PM

The picture’s caption was perfect.

Do they think we’ll forget how to use a voting machine in between now and the next election?

DrAllecon on January 12, 2011 at 3:39 PM

especially when the road is named the Senator Foghorn Leghorn Highway, leading to the Senator Foghorn Leghorn Airport.

I know Robert Byrd spoke with an accent and a mumble, but that’s not a kind way to refer to him.

KingGold on January 12, 2011 at 3:41 PM

They get used mainly for buying support or self-aggrandizement rather than to ensure efficient use of taxpayer money.

Ed – Where do you get this at? I’d love to see verification of this statement. Not saying you’re wrong, but that’s quite an assumption to make without proof.

NoStoppingUs on January 12, 2011 at 3:42 PM

The courage & political will to recognize the budget and earmark mess & act wisely to reverse gears, is absent in U.S. leadership, where the problems were hatched & where the rot is by far the deepest.

PatriotRider on January 12, 2011 at 3:42 PM

Seems like some people haven’t received the message yet….a few more election cycles will learn them a lesson….

search4truth on January 12, 2011 at 3:42 PM

once the public has more confidence in the process.

when pigs fly, that is.

Wethal on January 12, 2011 at 3:44 PM

to help a community in Idaho rebuild their water system,” said Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho)

Why don’t you raise the money in Idaho if it’s so damn important, rather than laundering the money through Washington and making the rest of us pay for the privilege? Thick as a brick.

RadClown on January 12, 2011 at 3:44 PM

These clowns don’t understand the corrupting aspects of influence peddling. If the congress wants to legislate funds for grants to cities for upgrading sewer systems, make the cities compete for those grants.

Skandia Recluse on January 12, 2011 at 3:45 PM

*sigh*

At the risk of using violent rhetoric….are cardinales good eating birds? Muwhahahahahaha! LOL

capejasmine on January 12, 2011 at 3:46 PM

“I don’t find a problem with me deciding that I want some of the money in the state and tribal assistance grants going to help a community in Idaho rebuild their water system,” said Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho).

Why should taxpayers in other states be paying for this in the first place?

Wethal on January 12, 2011 at 3:48 PM

OT: Supercop has released records on the shooter…like he said he wouldn’t…

d1carter on January 12, 2011 at 3:50 PM

If they need assistance with a water system, put it upfront in a bill, explain it’s merits and why and where the money is needed. If it is a true priority and the money is available, your colleagues will vote for it.

It is the sneaky way it has been done in the past that is the problem… the way these kinds of things were used as bribes for other things.

Be upfront and honest. Make the case.

petunia on January 12, 2011 at 3:50 PM

Hey ‘cardinals’, your stewardship of the House is also temporary. We voted you into power, we can vote you out of power.

Sheerq on January 12, 2011 at 3:50 PM

especially when the road is named the Senator Foghorn Leghorn Highway, leading to the Senator Foghorn Leghorn Airport.

Ed, you’re dating yourself. And me.

Chickenhawk.

BobMbx on January 12, 2011 at 3:39 PM

I’m not even 25 and I feel old reading that…

Oh for the days when cartoons were actually funny.

Dark-Star on January 12, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Slow learners. I suppose it is now poor manners to put a symbol of intended replacement in the next election over their name?

a capella on January 12, 2011 at 3:55 PM

Senator Foghorn Leghorn and those Republican cardinals are birds of a feather, ah say, ah say…

Drained Brain on January 12, 2011 at 3:56 PM

IT’S THIRD PARTY TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

indy8 on January 12, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Guess they really want to LOSE in 2012.

GarandFan on January 12, 2011 at 3:59 PM

Without knowing it…

… I believe the GOP “Cardinals” just made it OK to criticize politicians again.

Thanks, guys…

“Kill the Bill! Kill the Bill! Kill the Bill!”

Seven Percent Solution on January 12, 2011 at 4:01 PM

The only cure for this will also cure the other problems….

Severely limit the Federal government’s ability to spend money, on anything!

As long as they can write checks, they will abuse the privilege. It’s not like there is adult supervision in government.

CrazyGene on January 12, 2011 at 4:01 PM

especially when the road is named the Senator Foghorn Leghorn Highway, leading to the Senator Foghorn Leghorn Airport.

Fortunately I keep my feathers numbered for just such an emergency.

simkeith on January 12, 2011 at 4:06 PM

This is extremely disappointing.

GaltBlvnAtty on January 12, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Simpson is my rep and I will be on the phone to his office in 5 minutes!

csdeven on January 12, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Repeat 2010 election as long as necessary, until they are all gone. It’s our money they are wasting, if they can’t get the money out in the sunlight, then they obviously have other needs for the money …

tarpon on January 12, 2011 at 4:24 PM

If these Congresscritters know what their districts need so very well, then why do we need an EPA? Or Agriculture Dept? Education? Energy?

Really, lets get rid of the bureaucracy and go to direct graft, which is cleaner, easier to track, and so much more fun to watch then this complex money laundering system known as the federal bureaucracy. Costs less, too.

ajacksonian on January 12, 2011 at 4:26 PM

If a community in Idaho needs a GD water station, let them vote locally and appropriate the funds locally and leave me the hell out of it!

Lonetown on January 12, 2011 at 4:28 PM

Sounds like somebody doesn’t understand the phrase “on probation”.

hachiban on January 12, 2011 at 4:28 PM

These clowns don’t understand the corrupting aspects of influence peddling. If the congress wants to legislate funds for grants to cities for upgrading sewer systems, make the cities compete for those grants.

Skandia Recluse on January 12, 2011 at 3:45 PM

These clownsass-hats still don’t understand get it, the corrupting aspects of influence peddling. If the congress wants to legislate funds for grants to cities for upgrading sewer systems, make the cities compete for those grants let them make the case to the public that they are important enough to spend everyone else’s money for their state’s project instead of raising the funds within the state.

belad on January 12, 2011 at 4:33 PM

“I don’t find a problem with me deciding that I want some of the money in the state and tribal assistance grants going to help a community in Idaho rebuild their water system,” said Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho),

They can pay for it themselves!!!

Akzed on January 12, 2011 at 4:56 PM

I know it’s a weak connection but maybe the word pork?

Go see it.

Mason on January 12, 2011 at 4:58 PM

I see a big problem with ONE Congressman or Senator deciding how public monies are spent.

Jason Coleman on January 12, 2011 at 4:58 PM

It’s almost as if these douchebags want the GOP to go the way of the Federalist party and the Whigs. They may yet get their wish.

Travis Bickle on January 12, 2011 at 5:05 PM

But writing a Bill, and getting it through Committee and on to the Floor for a vote is hard work. /

Well, Congress Critter, that’s why you get paid the big bucks…so earn it.

or is that too hard for ya?

If earmarks are allowed in, then we have no choice but to make sure those who supported them to be allowed out…with a lot of help from us.

Elections have consequences.

coldwarrior on January 12, 2011 at 5:09 PM

Rep. Mike Simpson is asking for a primary challenge, practically begging for it. I really hope he reconsiders his position.

It is not quite time to go third party, yet. But any House member that actually requests pork in this new Congress is going to have opposition ads created using their own words in 2012′s primary season.

Sometimes people are just stuck on stupid.

itzWicks on January 12, 2011 at 5:26 PM

more than one election and term limits will help deal with excess pork.

Daemonocracy on January 12, 2011 at 5:28 PM

“The problem is that both Republicans and Democrats have spent the last twenty years [demonstrating?] that they can’t keep from abusing earmarks.”

I disagree. The real problem is that the federal government has too damned much of our money to play with. Whether bureaucrats or congressweasels are handing it out is irrelevant.

Brize on January 12, 2011 at 7:07 PM

Funny how the active voters of one party are demanding accountability and no pork as the condition of their support, and the active voters of the other party demand pork, pork, and more pork as the condition of theirs.

See if you can puzzle it out: which are the adults and which are the irresponsible children?

drunyan8315 on January 12, 2011 at 7:12 PM

If some city/town needs a new water/sewer system, then they can sell municipal bonds to pay for it and raise taxes on the locals to pay for it. Then if I think they are a good risk, I will buy the bonds. Is this so hard?

Mirimichi on January 12, 2011 at 7:38 PM

Well, that didn’t take long. There goes the neighborhood. . . again!

Pablo Snooze on January 12, 2011 at 9:47 PM

These tone deaf corrupt-o-crats can send money home to their home states but not by slight of hand that are earmarks. EACH spending bill must go through the appropriate committee with open hearings so that we the people have the opportunity to know how our monies are being spent…

Gohawgs on January 13, 2011 at 1:16 AM

Did anybody happen to catch Neil Cavuto’s show yesterday. He had Frank Wolf (R-VA) on to discuss earmarks, but there was no discussion. Wolf launched into a diatribe that had nothing to do with earmarks and refused to be stopped even after Cavuto tried repeatedly to bring him back to the subject. I think he was claiming that earmarks were the only way for Congress to affect policy, but his performance was so rude and annoying I kept wishing they’d cut his microphone. He needs to be taken out in the primaries.

The video is at http://video.foxnews.com/v/4494659/cavuto-clashes-with-rep-wolf-over-earmark-ban/?playlist_id=86929

flataffect on January 13, 2011 at 11:27 AM