Monday, February 23, 2009

Pork, Earmarks Return

From Stephen Dinan at the Washington Times:
Pork is back on the menu and the appetite is growing on Capitol Hill, where the number of lawmakers voluntarily swearing off earmarks for pet projects has fallen by nearly half compared with last year.
Just 17 of the 41 House members who promised not to request earmarks last year have made the same pledge this year, according to a survey of all congressional offices by the fiscal conservative action group Club for Growth. The holdouts include some top Republican leaders and all five House Democrats who had forsworn earmarks last year.
Just as telling, only six new lawmakers out of 63 that took office this year have said they will forgo earmarks, despite many of those freshmen having run on promises of restoring fiscal responsibility.
Despite expressing disgust for earmarks and pledging not to request them last year, Rep. Jackie Speier, California Democrat, is going her own direction this year.
“She has formed a Citizens Oversight Panel made up of people from across the 12th District and representing different political views to review appropriations requests in public forums and pass their recommendations on to her,” said her spokesman, Mike Larsen. “It is her hope to expand this process to all congressional districts to provide accountability to the appropriations process.”
Other House members said they're not sure whether they'll sign again this year.

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