- Sep 15, 2008
- Reaction score
- rocky mountains
Dems are earmark junkies but GOP goes straight | Byron York | Politics | Washington ExaminerPress coverage of the budget frenzy on Capitol Hill has suggested that pork-barrel earmark spending is still a bipartisan problem, that after months of self-righteous rhetoric about fiscal discipline, Republicans and Democrats remain equal-opportunity earmarkers.
It's not true. A new analysis by a group of federal-spending watchdogs shows a striking imbalance between the parties when it comes to earmark requests. Democrats remain raging spenders, while Republicans have made enormous strides in cleaning up their act. In the Senate, the GOP made only one-third as many earmark requests as Democrats for 2011, and in the House, Republicans have nearly given up earmarking altogether -- while Democrats roll on.
The watchdog groups -- Taxpayers for Common Sense, WashingtonWatch.com, and Taxpayers Against Earmarks -- counted total earmark requests in the 2011 budget. Those requests were made by lawmakers earlier this year, but Democratic leaders, afraid that their party's spending priorities might cost them at the polls, decided not to pass a budget before the Nov. 2 elections. This week, they distilled those earmark requests -- threw some out, combined others -- into the omnibus bill that was under consideration in the Senate until Majority Leader Harry Reid pulled it Thursday night. While that bill was loaded with spending, looking back at the original earmark requests tells us a lot about the spending inclinations of both parties.
In the 2011 House budget, the groups found that House Democrats requested 18,189 earmarks, which would cost the taxpayers a total of $51.7 billion, while House Republicans requested just 241 earmarks, for a total of $1 billion.
Where did those GOP earmark requests come from? Just four Republican lawmakers: South Carolina Rep. Henry Brown, who did not run for re-election this year; Louisiana Rep. Joseph Cao, who lost his bid for re-election; maverick Texas Rep. Ron Paul; and spending king Rep. Don Young of Alaska. The other Republican members of the House -- 174 of them -- requested a total of zero earmarks.
Talk to Republicans, and they'll say it would be nice if there were no earmark requests at all, but party leaders can't control everybody. "Brown's retiring, Cao's defeated, Paul is Paul and Young is Young," one GOP aide shrugs. Still, the bottom line is that the House GOP's nearly perfect renunciation of earmarks is striking. "For a voluntary moratorium, it was impressive that there were only four scofflaws," says Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense.
The Senate is a different story. But even though some Republicans are still seeking earmarks, Democrats are by far the bigger spenders. The watchdog groups found that Democrats requested 15,133 earmarks for 2011, for a total of $54.9 billion, while Republicans requested 5,352 earmarks, for a total of $22 billion.
So AGAIN--who are the biggest spenders in Washington D.C? DEMOCRATS.