Yesterday, while most of the country was trying to grasp the procedural nonsense flowing from the Pelosi-Slaughter violation of the Constitution, the US Senate voted in a very bipartisan way. What piece of legislation was so compelling that it had 14 Republicans hurtle across the aisle? What could possibly be of such national importance?
Yep - earmarks. Yesterday an amendment offered by Jim DeMint (S. Amendment 3454) to limit earmarks was resoundingly defeated in the Senate. Let me say that again for those who are not sure. The US Senate, including 14 deficit worried Republicans and all but 4 Democrats voted to continue the practice or earmarking, even though all 100 of them have publicly promised to end the spectacle of secret money grabs.
These are largely the same Republicans that are all too worried about the impact on the deficit of every bill that they see. Most obvious on that list - Senator Jim Bunning. The same Jim Bunning that grandstanded stopping unemployment benefits because of the deficit impact, voted to kill the amendment and continue the practice of earmarking. The same Bunning that is leaving the Senate at the end of his term.
Add in Alexander, Shelby, Gregg, Hutchison and Lugar and you have the core of the "impact on the deficit" choir in the Senate. I don't really think I need to explain the why of this. Leave it to be said that, in long standing Congressional tradition, they look out for themselves first and us last.
Pick any issue for the last year or two or three and you will find at least one or more of these Senators at the forefront of the "adding to the deficit" charge.
Kit Bond has been racing from camera to camera yelling that all this spending will break the bank, yet he can't seem to actually follow through. And, in a rare reversal of roles, the House actually did ban earmarks. (whether they follow the rule is another matter.)
Take no solace here Democrats - you have spent like there is no tomorrow. Need I mention Dodd's TARP end run? AIG? Their own pay raise? While talking about ending earmarks, Senate Democrats are using them endlessly.
And, of course, the president has yet to keep his promise to veto earmark laden legislation. In fact, he seems to sort of ignore it with a "next time," promise.
So it would seem that no hands are what one would call clean, but the sheer hypocrisy in this vote is blinding.
So it seems that when cameras are rolling and grandiose speeches are made, spending is a bad thing. But when it comes time to actually stop the spending, they can't do it.
Next time a US Senator whines about earmarks and spending, roll up a copy of Senate Amendment 3454 and mail it to them asking why they were against it.
Here is the vote tally:
To table the Amendment (effectively killing it):
Against tabling (trying to pass it):
(Vote tally from US Senate web site)
Look long and hard at this vote list. Next time one of these sanctimonious Senators goes off on earmarks, see if their talk matches their actions. Most likely, it does not.