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Hypocrisy In Congress?

March 11, 2009

Say it isn’t so!

Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh (D) opposed yesterday’s $410 billion omnibus spending bill because it was “bloated” and included $7.7 billion in earmarks. “At a time when so many American families are tightening their belts to make ends meet, Congress should be as equally committed to living within its means,” he said in a statement.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called the spending bill a “missed opportunity” and urged President Obama to veto it. “The bill costs far too much for a government that should be watching every dime,” he said. 

And Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe (R) said in opposition to the legislation: “Each and every time, whether a Republican or Democratic initiative, I have refused to go along with big government spending or big government solutions.”

But as it turns out, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, Bayh had four solo earmarks attached to his name in the legislation, worth $2.7 million; McConnell had 36 totaling $51 million; and Inhofe had 34 earmarks worth $53 million. 

Indeed, of the 35 U.S. senators who opposed the omnibus spending bill last night — in the form of a “no” on the cloture vote — 28 of them had solo earmarks in the legislation.

In total, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, these 28 senators had a combined 307 solo earmarks totaling nearly $240 million. The breakdown is below.

One Comment
  1. Patrick permalink
    March 11, 2009 9:45 PM

    I think Obama has a real opportunity here, and he’ll gain some respect from me–and I imagine others on the right–if he vetoes this bill. He campaigned on responsibility and now is the time to act, and action might confound many of his skeptical critics.

    While the republican party is in turmoil, the democratic party is likewise in a bit of a bind. Republicans deserved to lose power because they were irresponsible with the budget and disappointed the republican base. Democrats, however, need to decide if the head of their party is Pelosi or Obama. Of the two, I think Pelosi is a greater liability for the party. People are afraid of her; she isn’t a leader. Obama has a chance to make a huge statement about who is in charge while demonstrating that he can be responsible. I think there is widespread hatred of the earmarking process which almost all citizens–right and left–see as the buying and selling of votes. Obama could end all that by telling his own congress to get its house in order. Bush was too weak to do this and look where it got the republicans. It is hard to imagine the popular support Obama would garner were he to say he would sign no bills containing pork–and mean it. He could give America back her congress.

    I can’t see how he would lose if he took this stand.

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