Nancy Pelosi is acting like a junkie who gets caught. ” Please, she is crying, just one more hit and I will go into rehab tomorrow.” In her case it is a promise to president Obama that after this Omnibus bill she promises to sit down with the president and work on ending earmarks.
“After we get through the omnibus . . . then we can work with the administration to see what else we can do. But the idea is lower number, more transparency, total accountability,”
Gee Ms Pelosi, why AFTER? If you believe in fewer earmarks and more accountiblity why then did you cuss out the Democratic Senate ledership when they couldn’t get the bill passed Thursday night? If you were so in favor of transparency why did you force a vote on the stimulus package before anyone had a chance to read the dammend thing?
As upset I am with Pelosi for her lies about earmarks, I am even more upset with the members of my own party who have tons of earmarks in the bill. The congressman with the most earmarks in the bill Ron Paul , R-Texas, who touted his fiscal conservatism in his bid for the GOP presidential nomination last year, was the top House Republican earmark recipient in the omnibus. Paul, who routinely votes against spending measures, got $73.7 million in earmarks, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense.
Read more about the congressional earmarks below:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed Thursday to work with President Obama to examine how Congress dictates spending for special projects, a practice that has drawn sharp criticism from some Republicans.
“After we get through the omnibus . . . then we can work with the administration to see what else we can do. But the idea is lower number, more transparency, total accountability,” said Pelosi, D-Calif., making it clear that any review of earmarks would only follow consideration of the House-passed fiscal 2009 spending package (HR 1105) now moving through the Senate.
Pelosi’s tone was conciliatory and came after several Democratic leaders had signaled that the White House should back off trying to tell Congress how to conduct the appropriations process. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer , D-Md., bluntly said March 3 that while the president could offer advice on earmarks, “I don’t think the White House has the ability to tell us what to do.”
While Pelosi reiterated that funding such targeted projects is “an appropriate function of the Congress,” she added, “I do certainly agree with the president that we need to try to have fewer earmarks, that we have transparency and accountability.”
Obama campaigned against earmarks and has been criticized by some Republicans for those in the omnibus, though the $787 billion economic stimulus package (PL 111-5), which passed earlier, had none. Obama has said he wants “new rules of the road” for future spending bills.
Pelosi dismissed GOP criticism of the earmarks in the leftover catchall spending measure, saying Republicans dramatically increased the number of these pet projects after taking control of Congress in 1994.
“So this whole thing from the Republican side about earmarks is so disingenuous,” Pelosi said. “When we came into power, we strove to cut that number in half.”
Earlier this year, House Appropriations Chairman David R. Obey , D-Wis., and Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel K. Inouye , D-Hawaii, announced that they would reduce earmarked funding to about $8.5 billion in fiscal 2010. That figure is based on a pledge to cut such earmarks by 50 percent from $17 billion in fiscal 2006.
Earmarks are projects sought by lawmakers, usually for their districts or states, that are inserted into appropriations bills without undergoing the usual scrutiny and justification that accompanies other federal spending requests.
A spokeswoman for one fiscal watchdog group questioned Pelosi’s commitment to curbing earmarks.
“We appreciate that she appreciates the popularity of talking about earmark reform,” said Leslie Paige, a spokeswoman for Citizens Against Government Waste. “But a lot of it is just talking. If they wanted to get rid of earmarks, they could get rid of them right now.”
Paige said that part of the problem is that many congressional leaders secure earmarks for their own districts. Pelosi sponsored or cosponsored $34.2 million in earmarks in the omnibus bill, according to a breakdown of lawmakers’ earmarks by the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense. Her 30 earmarks included $2.6 million for reconstruction of the southern access to the Golden Gate Bridge, $10 million for a light rail project, and $2 million for the Family Violence Prevention Fund at the International Center to End Violence.
Hoyer sponsored or cosponsored $65.6 million in earmarks, while House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn , D-S.C., sponsored or cosponsored $36.1 million in earmarks in the omnibus, according to the watchdog group’s tally.
Taxpayers for Common Sense estimated the omnibus has 8,570 earmarks worth $7.7 billion.
Although about 40 percent of the earmarks in the omnibus were allocated for Republicans, top GOP leaders including Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio, Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia and Conference Chairman Mike Pence of Indiana declined to seek earmarks in the bill.
However, in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell , R-Ky., sponsored or cosponsored 53 earmarks worth $75.5 million, according to the group’s analysis.
McConnell’s largest earmarks were several multimillion-dollar Army Corps of Engineers water projects on the Ohio and Tennessee rivers, which were also recommended by the president. Another big earmark was $5 million for the University of Louisville Research Foundation for equipment and construction to expand cardiovascular facilities.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid , D-Nev., sponsored or cosponsored 108 projects worth $108 million. Among the earmarks singled out by Taxpayers for Common Sense was $143,000 for the Las Vegas Natural History Museum to expand natural history education programs. His largest earmark was $10 million for the Lahontan Basin Project, a water project.
Who Got the Most
The Senate leaders, however, did not rank at the top of the chamber in terms of earmarks in the omnibus. The two Republican senators from Mississippi, Thad Cochran , a member of the Appropriations Committee, and Roger Wicker , had the most Senate earmarks. They were followed by Democrats Mary L. LandrieuTom Harkin of Iowa.
The top House earmark recipient was Mazie K. Hirono , D-Hawaii, who secured $128.7 million in earmarks, most of them in coordination with, Inouye whose chairmanship gave him clout to win the projects.
Ron Paul , R-Texas, who touted his fiscal conservatism in his bid for the GOP presidential nomination last year, was the top House Republican earmark recipient in the omnibus. Paul, who routinely votes against spending measures, got $73.7 million in earmarks, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense.
Steve Ellis, the vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, cautioned that lawmakers such as House Defense Appropriations Chairman John P. Murtha , D-Pa., who usually get the most earmarks did not rank as high on the omnibus because it does not include the Defense appropriations measure that Congress passed last year. of Louisiana and