June 5, 2007

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Meet the new boss, yada, yada:

At this point, “Democrats are sidestepping rules approved their first day in power in January to clearly identify ‘earmarks’ — lawmakers’ requests for specific projects and contracts for their states — in documents that accompany spending bills,” The Associated Press reported Monday.

And there’s more unhappy editorializing here:

The new game that House Appropriations Chairman David Obey intends to play with budget earmarks this year is worse than the usual hide-and-seek. He is taking the whole thing underground, as though he is to be trusted as a one-man auditor for congressional pork. If this is to be the new ethic that Democrats promised, voters might want their ballots back. . . .

The result, then, is that the earmark projects will receive almost no public scrutiny and no congressional debate. This is precisely the kind of environment in which convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff thrived, the kind of place he fondly called the “favor factory.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised to drain this swamp, of course, but Democrats attached enough pork to the Iraq appropriations bill this spring to render that commitment a fraud. Neither the House nor the Senate has delivered on its promise to fully expose and limit the special-interest earmarks.

As budgetary gambits go, though, Obey’s is particularly insidious. It is what Democratic caucus chairman Rahm Emanuel last fall called “earmark abuse” when he introduced an amendment that sought to prohibit “the inclusion of earmarks and other provisions in conference reports without the language having first been in either the House or Senate legislation’s original language.”

That was when the Republicans were in charge. Now the Democrats run the bank, and it appears open for withdrawals again.

Could this kind of thing have any connection to the Democrats’ massive slide in the polls? Nahhh.

UPDATE: More backsliding here.

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