Bipartisan Hypocrisy on Earmarks

Here’s your gift, and here’s the bill.

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Things that make you go hmmm…

It’s a cute dance tune from the 80’s, but that’s not what I’m referring to.

I’m referring to Republicans, the party that pledged to give up pet projects which we lovingly refer to as earmarks and then cosponsored a 1,900-plus page omnibus bill which is loaded with earmarks. Hmmm…

I’m referring to Sen. Mitch McConnell, who said he’s working to defeat the bill; yet who originally sought $4 million for the Kentucky National Guard’s marijuana eradication efforts. Now McConnell has asked for his earmarks to be removed. But they haven’t. Neither have Sen. John Thune ’s $8 million to help maintain the B-1 bomber fleet in his state of South Dakota. And of course there is the support of the bill by Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah who is a top McConnell ally. Hmmm... Could it be Senator McConnell is grandstanding? Could it be that Senator McConnell is, dare I say, playing politics? Hoodwinking the American people? Publically showing great opposition to a bill he and his state would benefit greatly from the passage of? Hmmm.

[See who donates money to McConnell.]

Personally, I think that neither Democrats nor Republicans have been listening to the American people on this. Not via the polls nor the midterm election. Americans were clear about fewer earmarks, less pork. And politicians are keen on getting as much as they can get, on both sides of the aisle, before January 4th.

The bill contains about $8 billion (yes, that’s with a “b”) earmarks. Now that may sound like a lot, but it’s actually less than in previous years. But when you look at the total cost of the bill, earmarks are actually less than 1 percent of the entire measure. [Read more about government spending.]

But getting back to the American people; you know, that big group of folks paying for all of this stuff? Yes, those people….do we really want provisions blocking the Pentagon from transferring Gitmo prisoners to the United States? Do we really want to waste more money for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter which the administration has threatened to veto? Hmmm...

And let’s look at some allies of this bill: Bennett, Bond, Voinovich; all are leaving politics so they don’t have the pressure of pleasing anyone or concern of re election. Hmmm...

So should Congress send us into déjà vu land and try to provide enough money for the government to run on time in the 11th hour and push through so many pieces of legislation bundled as one before January 4th? Won’t this just be one more piece of legislation for the new Congress, especially the Tea Party members, to try to repeal? And what kind of a Christmas present is this to give the American people!? Hmmmm. Here’s your gift, and here’s the bill. Big kiss. Hmmm.

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