Skip to comments.Sadly, Coburn's Pork-Busting Is Rebuked
Posted on 10/23/2005 6:55:56 AM PDT by Osage Orange
Sadly, Coburn's Pork-Busting Is Rebuked
SEN. Tom Coburn recently sent out a "Dear Colleague" letter to fellow senators, questioning the basis for pork barrel spending when there are more pressing priorities. Last week he got his answer: Shut up. By wide margins, the Oklahoma Republican's attempts to trim millions of dollars from the aptly named "THUD" appropriation -- for the Treasury, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development departments -- were slam-dunked by senators more concerned with bringing home the bacon than looking out for the taxpayers.
Coburn's chief target was a good chunk of the $223 million earmarked to build a bridge in Alaska, the "bridge to nowhere," so named because of the tiny population it would serve. Before that came to a vote, he took aim at a handful of other projects, including money for a parking lot in Omaha, Neb., and a sculpture garden in Seattle.
Alas, Coburn had broken an unwritten rule in the Senate: Thou shalt not mess with other senators' earmarks. Indeed, senators from Nebraska and Washington scurried to the chamber to defend their pork. Washington's Patty Murray lobbed a veiled threat back at Coburn, saying attempts to cut funds for the project in her state would cause her and other members of the Appropriations Committee to take a look at projects in Oklahoma.
Call it log-rolling in the reverse -- or hardball politics. Coburn's bid was defeated 89-13.
As for the main event, the Alaskan bridge, Coburn hoped to redirect funds from that project to the reconstruction of a bridge in Louisiana that was damaged by Hurricane Katrina. But he fared no better, his amendment failing 82-15.
Surely, the result was no surprise. Coburn has tilted at the windmills before, arousing ire on both sides of the political aisle from colleagues intent on getting their share from the federal trough.
Certainly, there's nothing wrong with a state's representatives standing up for local interests. Coburn's intent was to force senators to examine whether it's right to conduct business as usual when there's a war going on, an important city and region to be rebuilt and federal deficits running out as far as the eye can see.
We know the counter arguments. Pork is what you call someone else's project. Community development block grants and other economic aids are important because they improve towns and cities and help create private-sector jobs. But there are times, like now, when Congress has to recognize higher priorities and adjust its spending habits.
We commend Coburn for forcing the debate, risking the wrath of others in the Senate. It's an important discussion we hope Coburn and some others continue in the future.
Our Congresscritters live like royalty. Pork is how they make sure they stay on the throne. No surprises here.
I am SO...flipping sick of this kind of manure....year after year...after year.
Okay RANT OFF..!
That's, soon to be, President Coburn, isn't it?
Nope....won't happen. He's not part of the club.
Oh, that it may be true. I volunteer to head up the south Georgia chapter!
Why doesn't Stevens just build another airport on the mainland for about $10,000,000?
Close the borders and stop wasting money!
Too bad we can't just organize a massive tax boycott - if there were a way to cut off funding to the government, even for a short time, maybe it would wake them up.
Unfortunately, the answer would be the government siezing our property. So we would have no impact.
Inhofe is showing him the ropes.
The Ketchikan bridge will serve about 70 people. Tom Coburn will go down in the hall of fame of truth-telling for his (accurate) remark that the government could save money by buying every single person who will use the bridge a Lear Jet.
Here are the "heros" who voted yes on the ammendment:
Grouped By Vote Position YEAs ---15
I am convinced more than I ever have been....the ONLY way this get's straightened out...is TERM LIMITS.
Too many poster children for TERM LIMITS on BOTH sides of the aisle.
Our Republican "leaders" won't be satisfied until we are bankrupt. I'm cynical enough to believe that might be the point.
I will be working to get rid of Inhofe...next go-around. I don't care if he votes 90% of the time correctly...IF, he can't get it right on this issue...he needs to be retired.
Just another TERM LIMIT poster child....IMO.
Actually I've thought for years now....one reason the WWW causes some people in power some worry..is how it can "connect" people.
After all...what better way to rally like-minded people to a common cause.
If a million folks adjusted their tax obligation to having to pay more April 15th...but held it back for a month or so....I expect that would gain some attention....
It would have to be done carefully though....
Oh well....a person can dream......Ha!!
I sent Norm Coleman (R-MN) a note to ask why he failed to support Coburn. I also sort of asked what he considered the limit of federal fiscal insanity. I think these are rhetorical questions, but will look forward to the reply.
Coburn is the kind of Senator we need. What we also need is to rebuke Republicans and Democrats who voted against his measure. This shows yet again that neither party believes in fiscal responsibility. I'm still going to vote Republican but once the GOP get a fiblibuster proof majority in the Senate then it is going to be a put up or shut up time because I for one am not going to keep voting for more of the same. It will be up to Conservatives to clean up the Senate one Crazycrat and RINO at a time.
Coburn could win. Someday some one with courage and means will step forward and shake Washington to the ground.
I'd like to think it possible....but considering everything....I think it improbable.
I agree. Is there a list of the specific pork projects Coburn went after, state by state? I'd like to find the ones in my state and contact my senators about those specifically. If our reps in congress hear from their constituents about specific projects as opposed to general complaints about "pork barrel spending," well, that's a start.
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