By: Mark Hemingway
Commentary Staff Writer
Dec. 27, 2009
Remember when President Obama promised to go through legislation “line by line” eliminating earmarks? Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., hasn’t forgotten:
Feingold, who broke with his party to oppose both the $447 billion 2010 omnibus spending bill and the $636 billion 2010 Pentagon spending bill, said the president could have used his veto pen to reject the measures and force lawmakers to cut earmark funding.
“We’ve got to have a fresh start next year, and I’ve signaled that if they want my vote, they’ve got to stop just signing onto huge numbers of earmarks,” Feingold said.
Obama talked tough about earmarks on the campaign trail.
“Absolutely, we need earmark reform,” Obama said in his first presidential debate with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). “And when I’m president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.”
There’s no bigger illustration for why we need earmark reform than the health care legislation just passed. The problem ultimately isn’t so much that billions in pork barrel spending targeted to lawmakers districts — though that’s pretty egregious in and of itself –but the $15 billion in earmarks handed out this year amount to chicken feed at the rate Congress is currently spending. The problem is the way that earmarks grease the wheels to buy votes needed to pass much more expensive legislation. Just ask Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., and Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., whether they would have voted for Obamacare had they not received hundreds of millions in earmarks.
O.K. so that means there is one sane Democrat? Not really Finegold is an ultra lefty, he needs to be swept out with the rest of the trash. Jim
I don’t even trust the ones that switch parties.