Thursday, January 26, 2006

Busting Pork

Mary Katharine Ham blogs on Hugh Hewitt's blog. I like her observation today. "As a fiscal conservative, I'm beginning to think a good idea in the Senate is one that ticks off the largest possible number of senators. If my hunch is right, then this is a really good idea.
According to Senate aides, Dr. Coburn has notified his colleagues that he intends to challenge every earmark—or pork project—on the floor of the U.S. Senate... Coburn's threat will dramatically slow the appropriations process because he will demand many more votes and more debate than normal on all spending bills. The added debate will allow senators to learn the merits (or lack thereof) of each earmark and affirm or reject.
"Sen. McCain has also signed onto the effort, and the two have shot off a "Dear Colleagues" letter that must have Senate aides clasping to their little appropriating chests the plans for the Central Idaho Celebration of Railroad Conductors Museum. "Appropriators think they can leverage enough pressure to make the Coburn threat an empty one, but I think it's a mistake to underestimate Tom Coburn's desire to shake things up in the Senate. It's equally dangerous to overestimate his desire to make buddies in the Senate. Appropriators beware. Andy Roth: "Memo to Ted Steven’s office: Bring a defibrillator with you to the Senate floor from now on." Roth has the numbers: There were at least 13,998 earmarked projects in last year's appropriations bills. 13,998 voice or roll-call votes! Last year there were only 366 roll-call votes. Good for Coburn and McCain - I am still very cautious about the latter. I can't wait to watch the complaining when their pet projects are out in the day light for everyone to see. But of course they will have fancy words for their cheap tricks.

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