The Discerning Texan
All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
-- Edmund Burke
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Pork is alive, well, and thriving in the Democrat Congress; in fact the pigs are fatter than ever now that the real big spenders have arrived:
That’s what has happened to Congress’s Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007. The Senate passed a $14 billion version of this spending bill in May, which funds federal water projects, and sent it to conference with the House. The same bill emerged from conference last week, and passed the Senate overwhelmingly yesterday, as a $23 billion spending bill. That’s a 64-percent increase in just four months — sounds like a wildly successful hedge fund’s return, not the growth of a bill that authorizes spending for the federal government.Meet the new boss...
Where did all the extra money come from? Much of it is earmarks. But some of it — between $1 billion and $2 billion — comes from new “earmarks” that were not voted on in the original House or Senate versions of the bill. These were added quietly in conference committee, when the two houses negotiated the final bill they would both pass. There were at least 20 such earmarks added in conference to WRDA, which authorizes spending on projects for the Army Corps of Engineers. Because they were added in conference, neither the House nor the Senate has any chance to debate or amend them.
The practice of adding extraneous earmarks in conference was supposedly curtailed by the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 — the Democrats’ ethics bill that was signed into law two weeks ago by President Bush. I noted last week that this bill would do nothing to curtail or even force real transparency for earmarks added to authorization bills like WRDA. Already, this has come true. What earmark disclosure exists has been deliberately made so difficult to find and interpret that it amounts to no disclosure at all. A list of 20 earmarks was only obtained through tedious research by the staff of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and the non-partisan group Taxpayers for Common Sense.