May 3, 2007

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: My hopes that the Democrats would be better on pork seem doomed to less-than-complete fulfillment:

Finance Committee chief Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is unlikely to follow the example of three other chairmen who have imposed voluntary earmark-disclosure rules on their members’ requests.

According to a Baucus aide, Baucus does not anticipate sending an earmark letter because the Finance Committee’s informal rule against so-called “rifle-shot” tax benefits makes the panel a special case. . . .

And if last year’s lobbying measure — which never made it to conference — offers any preview of this year’s talks, official tax-earmark rules may be slow in coming. Ellis said the uncertain future of earmark transparency calls for not just a letter from Baucus, but support from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

“Should Baucus do it? Yes. Should Reid move forward with a Senate rules change? Yes,” Ellis said. “Should Speaker Pelosi and the House get off the dime and pass [a lobbying bill]? Priceless.”

Read the whole thing. It’s not all bad, but it certainly gives the impression of hair-splitting and foot-dragging rather than enthusiasm for real reform. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised, though.

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