Saturday, February 11, 2006

Just say NO to earmarks...

Just Say No to Earmarks
Sen. McCain and I are serious about getting spending under control.

Friday, February 10, 2006 11:20 a.m. EST
John McCain and I recently delivered a letter to our colleagues announcing our intention to challenge every individual earmark on the floor of the Senate. Many senators, staff and reporters have asked if we are serious. The answer is yes.

I am convinced that forcing hundreds or, if necessary, thousands of votes to strike individual earmarks is the only way to produce meaningful results for American taxpayers. Bringing the Senate to a standstill for as long as it takes would be a small price to pay for shutting down what Jack Abramoff described as Congress's "earmark favor factory." The battle against pork is crucial. Pork is the root cause of the unholy relationship between some members of Congress, lobbyists and donors. Inside Congress, the pork process is effectively a black market economy: Thousands of instances exist where appropriations are leveraged for fundraising dollars or political capital. It is delusional to claim Congress can redeem its relationship with K Street without eliminating earmarks. The problem is not lobbyists. The problem is us.
Another recent post to check out here. I'm personally more worried about our politicians being addicted to spending than I am about our country being "addicted to oil". If we were serious about not being beholden to oil-rich countries in the middle-east, we'd mine the millions of barrels we're sitting on.


Click here to see the "Porker of the Month" over at CAGW (Citizens Against Government Waste).

Last week, Gov. Murkowski announced a $1.2 billion state budget surplus. He proposed spending part of that windfall to hire a public relations firm to counter the perception that Alaska politicians milk taxpayers.

Instead of trying to convince the country they are not porkers, perhaps Alaskan politicians should stop being porkers! Since 1999, the Alaska delegation has brought home more than $3 billion in federal pork, thanks mostly to former Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). The state has ranked number one in pork per capita since CAGW began calculating the statistic in 2000, pulling in $984.85 worth of pork per resident in 2005. AFMB board members include business partners Trevor McCabe (former aide to Ted Stevens) and state Sen. Ben Stevens (son of Ted Stevens). Gov. Murkowski (whose daughter is Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski) also has a vested interest in the bridge to Gravina Island; his wife owns acreage there and development on the island would drive up property values.

For favoring wasteful pork-barrel projects that may also benefit his own family, proposing the use of tax dollars in a hopeless attempt to prove that Alaska politicians are not porkers, and especially on behalf of its 2,733 members and supporters in Alaska, CAGW names Gov. Frank Murkowski Porker of the Month for January 2006.

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