July 10, 2007
How Do Your Senators Vote On Earmarks?

You can find the answer here.  Not all earmarks are pork, nor do earmarks include all the different kinds of pork.  But earmarks are often pork, and the attitude toward earmarks tells us something about a senator's willingness to control wasteful spending.

As one would expect, in general the worst senators are Democrats and the best are Republicans, though there are exceptions in both parties.

Washington state voters will be interested in the scores of our senators.  Our senior senator, Patty Murray, scores a dismal 16.7, and our junior senator, Maria Cantwell, did only slightly better at 25.0.  (I was actually surprised to see Murray score that high, because she sometimes gives the impression that she thinks her job is wasteful spending — as long as most of the beneficiaries are Washington voters.)

By way of the Instapundit.

Cross posted at Jim Miller on Politics.

(You can find a definition of earmark here.)

Posted by Jim Miller at July 10, 2007 11:16 AM | Email This
Comments
1. My Senators vote FOR every single thing I am vehemently against.

I wrote a letter to Patty during the early stages of the immigration debacle... the timely Ms Murray finally got around to responding with her usual pap and blather... yesterday.

Way to be right on top of things Pats!

Posted by: Ragnar Danneskjold on July 10, 2007 12:32 PM
2. They need to do a little more proof-reading before they put that stuff on the webpage. They lis three senators for the state of VA - Allen, Warner, and webb...

Posted by: rbb on July 10, 2007 01:21 PM
3. rbb, this statement is from the statement just before the rankings, "The Index brings together in one place all the data about how everybody who served in the Senate in 2005-2007 voted on 12 key opportunities to say "yes" or "no" to genuine earmark reforms when the Senate clerk called their names."

In 2005 the senators from VA were different than the senators in 2007. Same for Montana, which also boasts three senators: Baucus, Burns, and Tester. That's consistent with their statement.

I'm sure glad all those Defeatocrats were elected in 2006. They're sure doing a good job of cleaning up DC.

Posted by: Obi-Wan on July 10, 2007 01:59 PM
4. This one is easy even for the unSound crowd. You can be angry both ways!

Too much for Washington? Wasteful, profligate Senator.
None for Washington, trying to cut some spending/debt? Ineffective, weak Senator.

Every time I walk past the UW medical center on my way to Husky games, I launch a prayer of thanks for Maggie.

But he wasn't any good.

Posted by: Easy topic on July 10, 2007 03:07 PM
5. One person's pork is another's vital project. Perhapses it would be better for the money directed to states to never leave, but honestly that would mostly harm smaller and Southern States. If memory serves Washington is just below the break even point in terms of money sent to DC vs money coming in. Not to mention that none of this is likely to change in the near term. People want THEIR politicians to direct funds to THEM, but of course hat it when other politicians do the same.

For example they get on Sen Byrd for being earmark happy. A bunch of things they highlight though are freeways and expressways. While I am more of a transit person, roads aren't exactly a waste of money.

Posted by: Giffy on July 10, 2007 03:14 PM
6. Giffy (#5),
Have you ever been to West Virginia? I swear they must have more roadway per capita of anywhere in the country! And practically everything in the state is named "The Robert C. Byrd whatever"!

Bill H

Posted by: Bill H on July 10, 2007 05:03 PM
7. Bill H, fair enough I have never been. I would just say the the problem is not so much earmarks, but bad earmarks. I agree that all this should be open and transparent. I just disagree with the knee jerk "all earmarks are bad" argument. For example earmarks are helping us build light rail and replace the 520 bridge. Both things I support.

Posted by: Giffy on July 10, 2007 05:16 PM
8. Giffy, you express perfectly the problem with earmarks, and most people share your opinion (and I'm not trying to be snarky or insulting). When one claims that they are only against "bad" earmarks, they're making a value judgement about what's "good" and what's "bad." One can find someone that favors a certain earmark. Using your logic all earmarks are good, because someone will always favor them (usually the ones who benefit from a particular earmark).

The problem as I see it is not the amount of money per se, it's the graft and corruption associated with it. Look at Sens Stevens and Reid benefitting from increased land values from specific earmarks. Look at Rep Mollohan funneling earmarks to "charities" that he controls and has increased his personal net worth from almost nothing to millions in the course of just a few years.

Lawmakers use these earmarks to increase their personal wealth, that of their friends, or for their personal vanity, e.g., Robert KKK Byrd.

You favor light rail, I don't. So is the earmark good or bad? We both favor a rebuild of 520, so is that earmark good? Or is it bad because another two people are against it?

Posted by: Obi-Wan on July 10, 2007 06:39 PM
9. Obi-Wan, But thats the problem with just about everything anyone ever does. All government action involves value judgments. Whether you are cutting taxes or instituting national health care, you are balancing needs and wants, goods and bads.

I also never said that just becasue someone favors something it is essentially good. However, I would not say that just becasue something doesn't have 50+1 approval it is bad.

However corruption in any form is generally bad. Thats why I said I want these things to be open and transparent. Thats the biggest guard against corruption. I would add to that a robust media(blogs) and an engaged populous.

Like I said, I am not 100% pro-earmarks, but I am not completely opposed to them. The solution is not changing the process its putting better people in government.

Posted by: Giffy on July 10, 2007 06:48 PM
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