View Full Version : The Party of Pelosi: Just Forget the Word ‘Earmark’

06-13-2007, 08:16 PM
Pelosi: Just Forget the Word ‘Earmark’ By Amanda Carpenter
Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The more than 32,000 earmarks requested in the Homeland Security spending bill have roiled the House this week, and now Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) wants the word ‘earmark’ to just go away.

In a Tuesday press conference about appropriation bills, Pelosi said, “Why don’t we leave here today forgetting the word earmark?” She said they should be called “legislative directives” instead.

Five months ago, Pelosi’s House passed a resolution to require that these “legislative directives” be listed within the texts of applicable legislation next to the names of members who requested them, and therefore available to the public. It was a part of the Democrats’ bevy of midterm campaign promises that vowed to “drain the swamp” of the “culture of corruption” on Capitol Hill and create “the most ethical Congress in history.”

House Appropriations Chairman Rep. David Obey (D.-Wisc.)said his staff was unable to print the earmarks into this year’s round of spending bills, however, because there were too many and it would take up too much of his staff’s time.

Subsequently, because the earmarks are not printed in the bill, members cannot challenge the earmarks before voting on the legislation.This prompted Republican Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio), as he said Tuesday, to “declare war on our Democratic majority over these secret slush funds.”

Obey appeared at the Tuesday press conference with Pelosi and other Democratic leaders to talk about the spending bills being considered in the House.

There, I asked him if he was opposed to letting members contesting earmarks on the House floor.

He said “no” and that this would be the only year members would not be able to contest earmarks. He said his staff had been uncommonly burdened with the unfinished spending bills not passed by the previous Congress, the Iraq spending supplemental and investigations for “Republican shenanigans that occurred in the last Congress.”

“The fact is if we wanted to list those earmarks, it would take at least four weeks to get the job done, four weeks of staff work to put it together,” he said.

Obey denied implications that a larger staff would alleviate this problem.

“We don’t need more staff, we need more time,” Obey said.“We had unusual circumstances this time. For next year’s round I would fully expect to try to include them in the bill.”

It was at this point that Speaker Pelosi took back the podium and suggested that reporters forget the word “earmark.”

“This is legislative spending as opposed to executive spending,” she said. “And in the absence of legislative directives, you have appropriations bills that are totally dictated by the White House.” -this is more bullsh!t from the culture of hypocrisy.


06-13-2007, 08:29 PM
In a stupid sense, Obey is right. It doesn't really matter if the earmarks in the bill to be contested or if they are simply inserted later. The bill would have passed no matter what. That's what is stupid about earmarks. People can argue against the specific earmarks, but they aren't going to vote against the bill.

If you want a amusing, nerdy thing to do, watch Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) talk about earmarks in massive spending bill on the House floor before a vote. He simply points them out, says how ridiculous they are, how its completely improper for the government to be spending like this, and then the bill passes anyway. I remember one bill where Flake found an earmark to do some renovations for a freaking restaurant in New York. The representative from New York had to get up and defend it by saying that they make delicious food and everyone loves to eat there. So the debate expired, the bill passed, and that restaurant got is freaking renovation money from our taxes. Jeff Flake can only do so much.

I don't think the problem is with whether or not earmarks can be contested. The problem is with earmarks existing in the first place. Another bi-partisan source of corruption.

Also, I think the idea of listing each earmark next to the member's name, as Pelosi had directed, is a decent move, but will do little to nothing to actually get rid of earmarks. More public exposure might help a little, but I can't imagine that taking care of the entire problem.