Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Coburn Solution

When the Dems were campaigning last Fall in congressional races across the country, they rightly pointed to the corruption by Republicans in Congress and the need to clean up practices such as earmarks which allowed funding for "bridges to nowhere" in Alaska. Nancy Pelosi pledged to "make this the most honest, ethical and open Congress in history." Well, after only 6 months that seems to be an empty promise--- similar to the pledge to work 5 days a week. With regard to earmarks, David Obey, the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee has decided that the membership has no need to actually know about and vote on those special little projects inserted into spending bills. He will now take all 32,000 of them and decide later which ones will be funded. As we consider this, we should remember that the crooked Republicans were thrown out for funding 14,000 of these earmarks. Anyway, congressional spending practices seem to be the same or worse than when the Dems were elected last Fall. While we wait for Nancy Pelosi to decide whether she wants to honor her word or impose discipline on her legislative body, we can watch Tom Coburn in the Senate. Senator Coburn says that unless something is done about earmarks we should remember that any one member of the Senate can prevent spending bills from going to conference to resolve differences in the House and Senate. If there is anyone in America who doesn't think that there is one member who will excercise his perogative in this regard, they don't know Senator Coburn. This should be fun.

In a related development, there is a paper pledge in the House with enough Republicans signed on to sustain any veto by President Bush of a spending bill which exceeds his budget. This is a shaky proposition since the Republicans could go wobbly if one of their pet boondoggles is threatened, but it may help some.

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