October 14, 2008
Does Paper Running Earmark Frontpagers Understand Earmarks?
The Seattle Times has been doing special investigative work on earmarks, the latest of which lead last Sunday's front page.
Yesterday, a reporter at the Politics Northwest blog - or better put, Darcy Burner's campaign - tried to play gotacha by claiming Dave Reichert passed an earmark!
Wait, I thought he was "ineffective."
Never mind. The issue here is that someone out there doesn't understand what an earmark is.
Earmarks, as commonly understood, are when Members of Congress add spending for additional projects to a piece of legislation, larding it up with bridges, agricultural research, etc., etc. for the folks back home. Such additions raise the price tag of the overall cost of the legislation.
Meanwhile, Congress has a host of regular programs - called the federal government - that are authorized by Congress itself and then have money appropriated to fund them. While funding those programs, which already exist, Congress sometimes includes "report language" in the relevant legislation to ensure the funds are spent properly, as Congress intended. This is the prerogative of the legislative branch, as the representative of the people. It does not change the price tag of the legislation in question.
That is not an earmark, especially as understood in the current debate on such topics. The Bridge to Nowhere is an earmark. Report language instructing a federal agency on how to spend their budget in a way that meets the expectations of the Congress that actually approved that funding is not.
If Reichert had passed an earmark in the way Burner's campaign claims (again, I thought he was ineffective?), he would be in violation of House rules. Yet, no actions have been filed with him with the Ethics Committee accusing him of such.
Perhaps no one told Knoll Lowney yet.
Either way, the Burner campaign is fishing. And regrettably, the Seattle Times isn't showing much of an understanding of how Congress works.
Posted by Eric Earling at October 14, 2008
07:32 AM | Email This
There is an addictive aspect to taxpayer money, it would seem, no matter who gets to spend it.
OhDrama couldn't even avoid wasting millions on earmarks to take care of his buddies in his own presidential election year.
And some out there actually think he'll "Change" things?
He'll change them all right... from bad to worse. Instead of being "different," he's just another "tax and spend leftist."
Reichert should know better. The Sheriff didn't have to sell out.
The only reason I'd consider continuing to support him is that the empty-suited moron running against him would be much, much worse.
You know... like OhDrama?
Some thoughts in response to this silly post:
1. Surely even an "ineffective" congressman can manage to do SOMETHING in Washington. It's not like requesting a $25 million project is a particularly impressive sign of effectiveness.
2. Earling is really obsessing over semantics here. Even though the request for funding for the lab was labeled "programmatic funding," it still amounted to effectively the same thing as an earmark. As with an earmark, money that would not otherwise have been spent on the lab was spent on it as a result of Reichert and others' efforts. And
It's not "semantics" bro...geez. There's a material difference between member projects and program funding.
Really, this is such a funny post by the Times; I don't think there was any ill-intent, but it missed the target...
4. Actually, I think you're confusing earmarks with pork barrel. Pork barrel is projects like the bridge to nowhere. Pork barrel benefits a marginal section of constituents.
This is funny, because no one here had any problems with earmarks / huge debts / massive reckless spending by the GOP till John McCain became the candidate. How quickly people here change their tune.
Earmarks & Pork Barrel are the same thing, whether it be to keep building F-22A's in a Senator's home state (despite the military not wanting them), building a park in the middle of Downtown Seattle, or funding a Bridge to Nowhere.
According to Citizens Against Govt. Waste for an earmark to be defined as Pork has to meet 1 or more of the 7 criteria here:
* Requested by only one chamber of Congress;
* Not specifically authorized;
* Not competitively awarded;
* Not requested by the President;
* Greatly exceeds the President's budget request or the previous year's funding;
* Not the subject of congressional hearings; or
* Serves only a local or special interest.
What makes to think they don't need the F-22.
You have any idea how old the F-15 is?
By the way, yep many Reps did over spend and got smacked for it. But look at OBama's & Nancy P spending that makes the Rep look like Golden girls. How odd you don't say zip about it... Not that I would expect you would!
Looks like one persons "earmark" is another person's absolute requirement be in the budget - whether it's another F-22 or an added submarine or a bridge or a study or an overhead projector.
I think requiring Congress to budget items through the full process would help - regardless of who's in charge. Neither party has shown any purity on this subject.
Last I checked, the F-15 is a 30 year old airframe. They *need* to be replaced. Please tell me were you got that the Air Force didn't want the F-22's?
By the way, one F-22 replaces something like 4 or 5 F-15's. You can't tell me that doesn't end up saving the Air Force money in the long run. How is saving money replacing 30 year old aircraft "pork barrel spending"?
9. Perhaps when the alternative is an unmanned craft that is just as survivable (with pilots at no risk), cheaper to build, and cheaper to fly.
That's many years away.
Even todays UAV must be watched over by humans.
Plus UAV's can only do what they are programed. They have know thought process when things changes around them.
But thinking about Termator can keep you awake at nights when we reach that age.
UAV's are great at what they do... namely hitting fixed or slow moving lightly or non armored targets in an urban environment when they aren't being shot back at.
Going toe to toe with an SU-35 for air superiority is a different thing. A remote controlled UAV simply will never be able to replace a pilot in the cockpit for a lot of things. The F-22 is designed to do those things.
Where I got my F-22
"Apparently, the F-22 will be stopped only when pigs can fly." The information here seems to indicate the F-35 is a cheaper plane to manufacture while being technologically superior to the F-22.
But look at OBama's & Nancy P spending that makes the Rep look like Golden girls.
Obama has yet to propose a budget so it would be hard to claim he's spent anything (minus the small earmarks for IL)...Pelosi passed a bailout bill that the President proposed and the Senate modified (to fill with pork). Budgets already blown, recession is on, time to cut back on expenses...much like my family has done. Something that the McCain family with it's Paris Hilton-esqe fortune has likely never had to do.
How odd you don't say zip about it
I'm happy to hold all parties accountable for their misdeeds. Seems the GOP was the one dishing out the cash during the Bush years (The PUSA vetoed how many bills in his 1st six years in office? A: One). Seems the GOP went hog wild with spending during the time they held the House/Senate & White House. Looks like America is ready for someone else to lead. I'll be happy to criticize the Dem's should they decide to overspend whatever limited resources they have to work with.
Even todays UAV must be watched over by humans.
With all those kids growing up playing Grand Theft Auto this will be a piece of cake, sort of like "Enders Game" with foreigners as the enemy instead of aliens.
I think even you would agree that loosing a $10k UAV where the pilot sits at base 5000 miles away is better than loosing a $20 million aircraft with a highly skilled pilot flying it.
Cato, the F-22 and the F-35 are designed to do different things. The F-22 is a replacement for the F-15. It is an air superiority fighter with some air to ground capability. The F-35 is a replacement for the F-16. It is a multi-role aircraft intended primarily for air-to-ground. The F-22 runs rings around the F-35 in air to air. The same goes for the F-35 for air to ground.
It is not "technologically superior"... it is cheaper, but only because it employs technology developed during the F-22's design process. It's that way with all new technology. Should the Air Force order a second run of F-22 over the existing 180+ ordered, those new units will be much cheaper since there won't be the same R&D costs as the initial order. The F-22 also employs certain technologies (namely thrust vectoring) not found in any of the F-35 varients, so that also cuts costs. The F-35 is also simply a much smaller aircraft.
Yes, UAV's will someday take over a lot of what manned aircraft currently do... someday. And not every role. Against a manned SU-35, a UAV will never replaced a piloted aircraft.
pacto, you're such a moron. The idea that many of us... most of us... were opposed to earmarks YEARS ago is beyond dispute. If you're REALLY looking for "funny," reread all that leftist garbage you swallowed about reforming the ear mark system.
You'll find it right under all of the other lies Pelosi, Reid, et all were spewing... in everything from pulling us out of Iraq (How's THAT lie working for you?) to having the most "ethical and moral Congress in history?"
And you were dutifully, if not utilizing critical thinking skills in the process, mouthing along with the rest of the fringe left whack jobs.
And now, you're blathering about fighter aircraft as if you knew anything about the military, let alone fifties.
15. Hinton, yeah, Cato is just living in his own alternate reality again. That McCain opposes pork and earmarks is one of the few things that conservatives around here all liked about him. :-)
16. It is not "technologically superior"... it is cheaper, but only because it employs technology developed during the F-22's design process.
I don't claim to be a expert in military airplanes. I am relying on the word of Citizens Against Govt. Waste who cited the high expense of continuing the F-22 program as a source of Pork.
Against a manned SU-35, a UAV will never replaced a piloted aircraft.
Will a SU-35 ever face off against a smaller more nimble opponent like a modified UAV? I imagine the SU-35 will have a much higher rate of speed compared the much slower drone. In theory a mach capable plane could fly right by a drone only to become a target as it passes. While I don't think it will happen anytime soon, I'm sure in the future technology will improve enough to make this scenario possible.
The idea that many of us... most of us... were opposed to earmarks YEARS ago is beyond dispute.
I've been posting on here for several years, people on here seem pretty content with the Bush Presidency and it's reckless budgetary spending. Earmarks only became the issue when Sen. McCain became the candidate (despite a majority people here favoring Romeny or Thompson). Feel free to go through the archives and point out a post on the main page that discusses budgetary earmarks, something tells me you will not find one.
Earmarks are a pretty small portion of the actual budget, they slipped by unnoticed for many years while times were good. Now that times are tougher and McCain who has been rallying on the issue for years (to 99 pairs of deaf ears) is a candidate the issue is in the spotlight.
People are now demanding greater accountability of their money (rightly so after 2000 - 2006). Alas Americans have short memories and I somehow doubt this will still be an issue 6mo from now. We'll just have to wait and see what Pres. Obama does.
17. Sorry, Cato, you can't blame Bush for not having line item veto powers. Those were done away with, and he has said many times he wishes he could veto some of the individual stuff tacked onto legislation in the dead of night. You're right. It has been going on for a long time, on both sides, ever since they got rid of the line item veto.
Katomar, when were the President's line item veto powers "done away with"?
When were those powers granted and what President exercised them?
19. "Obama has yet to propose a budget so it would be hard to claim he's spent anything (minus the small earmarks for IL).
" ~ Cato
A million dollars a day for every day he and his empty suit have served in the U.S. Senate and his sycophants describe that as "small earmarks for IL". ??
Clueless doesn't begin to cover it.
20. Katomar - hint, all my questions are trick questions...
You can't blame Bush for not having line item veto powers.
True, line item veto was stuck down in 1996 by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional.
President Bush has readily vetoed budgets & bills from a Dem. lead Congress for a variety of reasons including pork/overspending yet failed to veto even one spending bill during the time the Republican Party held control of Congress and the Presidency. Meanwhile deficits ballooned.
Like I said earlier:
McCain who has been rallying on the issue for years (to 99 pairs of deaf ears)
McCain being true to his cause called out some of the most egregious earmarks much to the chagrin of party leaders (earning the title "Maverick").
Kinda defeats his cause...when he picked the receiver of several of earmarks for his VP canidate. It's especially disingenuous when Gov. Palin lied about her earmark stance during her convention speech (She was for the bridge before she was against it, then kept the money anyway).
Rick D @ 19:
A million dollars a day for every day he and his empty suit have served in the U.S. Senate
Great talking point too bad the facts don't back it up...Gov. Palin the VP nominee has received $430 million in earmarks so far and requested $197 million for 2008. Obama taking up McCain's challenge has sought none.
The facts from the Wall Street Journal seem to paint a different picture:
Gov. Palin sought $980,000 per workday, compared with roughly $893,000 for Sen. Obama.
We can also compare Sen. Obama's record to that of Sen. Clinton's (the presumed Dem. nominee back in 2006) 360 earmarks worth $2.2 billion from 2000 - 2006.
We should also look at 2007, the latest year that Citizens Against Govt. Waste has on file.
Biggest Porkers in the Senate:
Republicans: Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), and John Ensign (R-Nev.) 97%
Democrat: Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) 34%
The facts seem to show a different story the one you're trying to paint. Maybe the Republican party should do some cleaning up of it's own Porkers before it goes pointing fingers.