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    March 04, 2009

    Equal opportunity pork

    Posted by: Andoni

    AAA pork

    I watch the news every night, follow the Sunday morning talk shows, and try to catch bits and pieces of both CNN and Fox News during the day. From all of these sources, I have learned over the past couple of weeks that the $410 billion dollar Omnibus Budget bill is loaded with earmarks ... or so called pork. Furthermore, from listening to the Republicans complain on TV, I got the impression that it was all (or mostly) the Democrats' fault.

    Now Jamie Dupree points to a study from Taxpayers for Common Sense showing that the Republicans are just as much into pork as the Democrats are. The truth is that a few Republicans are anti-pork and are very vocal about it, but as a whole both Democrats and Republicans are equally into pork.

    As an example, here is a list of Senators who have the most earmarks (along with the number of earmarks) in the Omnibus bill:

    Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) - 134
    Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) - 71
    Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) - 65
    Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) - 64
    Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) - 60

    And here is a list of Senators with the most total dollar amount of earmarks:

    Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) - $122 million
    Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) - $114 million
    Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) - $85 million
    Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) - $76 million
    Sen. Thad Cochran (R-AK) - $75 million

    You can slice this pie any way you want, but the bottom line is that both Republicans and Democrats are guilty of writing pet projects into legislation.

    And when it comes to Senators who did not ask for any earmarks, there are six, 3 Democrats and 3 Republicans:

    Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) - $0
    Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) - $0
    Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) - $0
    Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) - $0
    Sen. Clare McCaskill (D-MO) - $0
    Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) - $0

    It's just that the Republicans are the vocal ones, criticizing earmarks - making it an issue, and giving the impression that all Republicans are against earmarks. Not true.



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    1. Tim C on Mar 4, 2009 9:02:42 AM:

      Sen. Robert Byrd's (the only sitting Congresscritter known to have been a KKK member) greatest regret upon leaving office, whether upright or feet first, will be his failure to move the entire federal government apparatus to West Virginia.

    1. Charles on Mar 5, 2009 2:03:47 AM:

      You write "I have learned over the past couple of weeks that the $410 billion dollar Omnibus Budget bill is loaded with earmarks ... or so called pork."

      Methinks "loaded" is too strong a word here. According to Taxpayers for common sense the amount of earmarks in the bill is $7.7 billion, which is less than 2% of the total. Even if we ignore the fact that this money is being spent on things that presumably benefit people and create jobs, is it really worth getting so excited about if it's such a small slice of the pie? John McCain complained about earmarks all through his campaign, but it was always a red herring -- there's no "there" there.

      Link to my figures:

    1. Sebbe on Mar 8, 2009 7:40:34 PM:

      Is it bad that I am not anti-earmarks?

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