September 21, 2005
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: I think the idea is developing more and more momentum. Here's a Wall Street Journal editorial:
The idea of a pork-for-reconstruction swap had already been denounced as "moronic" by a spokesman for Don Young of Alaska, Chairman of the House Transportation Committee and proud father of the now-infamous $223 million "bridge to nowhere" near Ketchikan. Since then the White House and Congressional Republican leadership have been acting as if the cost of Katrina relief should have no impact on the course of an administration that has presided over the fastest growth in discretionary spending since Lyndon Johnson.
But thankfully, a grassroots Internet campaign and a handful of House GOP conservatives have refused to give up on the idea that spending cuts should be found to defray the estimated $200 billion federal price tag for hurricane relief. In the Senate, John McCain is proposing a similar pork-for-Katrina swap.
The Internet campaign picks up on the idea of revisiting the earmarks in the Highway Bill. A Web site called Porkbusters (www.truthlaidbear.com/porkbusters.php) helpfully lists these projects by state and directs readers to the appropriate Representatives and Senators to ask what they would cut. Around the country a flood of letters to local newspapers has echoed the theme.
And if revisiting the Highway Bill is too much to ask, how about a one-year moratorium on all non-defense earmarks for fiscal 2006? Rep. Ron Lewis (R., Kentucky) proposes just that in a "Dear Colleague" letter dated Monday. Other suggestions include across-the-board spending cuts at federal agencies of 2.5 cents on the dollar and delaying the introduction of the Medicare drug benefit by a year. We should be hearing more today when members of the House Republican Study Committee -- led by consistent spending hawks such as Mike Pence, Jeb Hensarling and Jeff Flake -- announce "Operation Offset" and a list of specific options to find savings in the budget.
The campaign also got another mention in the Washington Post, courtesy of Howard Kurtz. And Mark Tapscott continues to round up other reactions.
And Leslie Paige of Citizens Against Government Waste wants some help from the blogosphere:
CCAGW is considering bringing in grassroots folks from districts all over the country who have publicly decried or offered to reject their own pork-barrel projects in order for those dollars to be redirected to Katrina Relief.
We've pointed her to some folks, but if you're interested send me an email with "CAGW" in the subject line and I'll forward it on.
No word, so far, from my congressman, Jimmy Duncan.