PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: So much for promises that the new Democratic Congress was going to be different:
Move over Bridge to Nowhere. Congress is back in town, and clearly back to business even uglier than usual.
It takes hard work to come up with an earmark more egregious than that infamous Alaskan bridge, but California’s Dianne Feinstein is an industrious gal. Her latest pork–let’s call it Rambo’s View–deserves to be the poster child for everything wrong with today’s greedy earmark process.
The senator’s $4 billion handout (yes, you read that right) to wealthy West L.A. (yes, you read that right, too) is the ultimate example of how powerful members use earmarks to put their own parochial interests above national ones–in this case the needs of veterans. It’s a case study in how Congress uses the appropriations process to substitute its petty wants for the considered judgments of agency professionals. And it’s just the latest proof that, no matter how much outrage the American public might display over these deals–and no matter how often Congress promises to clean up its act–the elected have no intention of reforming the process. . . .
Given the recent uproar over Walter Reed, and Congress’s many calls that we do more for the men and women returning home wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan, you’d think no elected representative could possibly have the chutzpah to impede the VA’s considered attempts to inject efficiency into its facilities and provide better care for its constituents. Think ever so much again. It turns out the well-to-do in West L.A. consider the veteran’s center grounds their own little rolling, personal park, and they want it to stay that way–thank you very much.
Meet the new boss, yada yada.