October 20, 2005

PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Here’s an interview with Sen. Tom Coburn regarding his anti-pork efforts, by Jed Babbin on Hugh Hewitt’s show. Here’s an excerpt, where he responds to Patty Murray’s threats:

JB: Well, does that bother you, Senator? I mean, are you worried so much about Oklahoma projects?

TC: No. I don’t ask for any projects. I ran on a platform of saying the biggest problem we face in our country is financial and economic, and cultural in Washington, that if we don’t change that, I promised you I will not earmark a thing until the budget is in surplus.

JB: Wow.

TC: So I don’t have any earmarks. So I don’t have any…you know, there’s no power over me to withhold earmarks, because I have none.

JB: Well, how tough is it going to be, though, to undo this culture of pork? I mean, the porksters are all around you. I mean, we’re not naming names, but you’re outnumbered there pretty solidly, so…

TC: Look, when the American people want things to change, they will change. Just as like in 1994, they changed?

I don’t think the Senate Republican leadership wants an 1994 rerun, now that they’re in the majority. Also scroll down or read this post.

UPDATE: Andrew Roth has a statement from Coburn and this update:

The Senate did accept three Coburn amendments. One amendment required that all earmarks be included in the bill’s conference report. This amendment helps lift the veil of secrecy that conceals the process of inserting special projects into appropriations bills. Similar amendments have been attached to the Agriculture, Military Construction and Department of Defense Appropriations bills.

Another amendment limits the amount HUD can spend on conferences to $3 million. Last year the Department spent $13.9 million on conferences.

The other Coburn amendment that was accepted requires the Community Development Block Grant Program run by HUD to cease violating a law that requires them report on their rate of improper payments.

The first of these is of some significance.

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