Behind closed doors, the GOP's King of Pork dressed down the party's leading foe of earmarks. In the open, the last bill passed before the election was filled with carefully hidden pork.In a caucus of Republican senators, 82-year-old, six-term Sen. Ted Stevens charged that freshman Sen. Tom Coburn's anti-pork crusade hurts the party. Stevens then removed from the final version of the Defense Department appropriations bill Coburn's "report card" requiring the Pentagon to grade earmarks. The House passed, 394 to 22, the bill, stripped of this reform and containing some 2,800 earmarks worth $11 billion. That made a mockery of a "transparency" rule passed by the House earlier this year, supposedly intended to discourage earmarks.
"You would think that with a war and all the controversy surrounding earmarks that the appropriators would hold back a little," said Steve Ellis of the non-partisan Taxpayers for Common Sense. "But with an election just weeks away, they dug into the trough to find pearls to send home to their districts." Ellis located unauthorized spending embedded in the bill that was harder to find than ever. Republicans in Congress seem unaffected by their conservative base's anger over pork.
12 October 2006
Take My Money . . . Please.
In case you aren't mad enough already at all 535 of them: