PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: More developments:
The playground bully in the Senate _ the Appropriations Committee _ actually took a loss last week at the hands of senators determined to strip so-called pork barrel projects from a bill that’s supposed to be devoted to the war in Iraq and hurricane relief.
And the House this week will vote on requiring members to attach their names to “earmarks” _ those hometown projects slipped into spending bills. The idea is that the sunshine of public scrutiny will mean fewer wasteful, silly sounding projects like $500,000 for a teapot museum in Sparta, N.C.
Lawmakers say voters are getting sick of all this pork; there’s even a recent poll that says reforming earmarks is the most important issue facing Congress. Could it be that politicians are losing their appetite for the other white meat?
Definitely not, alas. And Trent Lott is dissing Bush and bragging about how “wily” he is:
Not only is Lott not worried that Bush might for the first time in his presidency veto a spending bill, Lott thinks quite highly of himself and Sen. Thad Cochran, Lott’s colleague who happens to be Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
“Senator Cochran and I are wily guys,” Lott boasted to the newspaper.
He was referring to the emergency spending bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Gulf Coast hurricane recovery that Lott and Cochran stuffed with a $700 million earmark to move the “Railroad to Nowhere” in order to clear the way for gambling interests and other developers to construct new facilities along the Mississippi coast.
Lott and other senators pumped the bill to more than $106 billion with earmarks added to the emergency bill that originally included $92 billion. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, failed by one vote last week to secure passage of an amendment that would have stripped the $700 million out of the bill.
Who was the one vote? Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, who earlier in the day had told Bush he and others had rounded up enough senators to sustain a presidential veto.
Call me crazy, but it seems like these guys aren’t just killing their party, but actually bragging about it. That doesn’t seem very “wily” to me.
UPDATE: Reader Eric Alexander writes:
I think – really – that he would be just ecstatic if the Republicans lost control of the House and the Senate. I suspect he’s been waiting a long time to get back at the President and the party for stripping him of his leadership status over his tin-eared Thurmond remarks a few years back, and he sees his chance to stick it to them. And I think he’s especially thrilled he can do so while doing what comes naturally to him – pushing pork for his Mississippi good-old-boy cronies.
Well, that’s just another reason to think he deserved to lose his leadership position, isn’t it?