Earmarks - or no earmarks. That is the question causing the ringing of hands in Republican Senate ranks on Capitol Hill. Especially since the queen of earmarks, Republican Lisa Murkowski (name spelled correctly, thank you very much!), appears to be holding onto her crown.
The Republican leader in the senate, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, is arguing earmarks are but a small drop in the very large budget bucket. And anyway, McConnell says, the Obama Administration will just use grants and other bureaucratic paths to funnel money to states for pet projects of favored members of Congress.
Read my lips (or this blog) Mitch - just say no. No is a wonderful word when applied to most federal spending. McConnell's vacillating in the wake of the resounding NO heard from voters shows just how entrenched the old guard is in Washington, on both sides of the aisle.
Last year our tax dollars funded 19.6-billion for earmarks. Indiana ranks 43rd on the government earmark dole list per pork dollars received per person. Alaska is number one.
No wonder Alaskans brushed up on their spelling.
Republicans in the house have already made their New Years resolution early - pledging a 2011 budget free of earmarks. My congressman, Mike Pence, made that pledge in 2009. And kept it.
No so Senator Lugar.
While earmarks are smallfry spending in the gargantuan federal budget, they are used as bribes to secure the support of wavering members of congress for bills that might not have garnered their support without the pork for their district included.
Congressional bills were stuffed with more than 9,000 earmarks last year. And who can forget the "Louisiana Purchase" or the "Cornhusker kick-back" during the debate that ended in passage of that debacle we now call Obamacare.
If you would use some wax remover Senator McConnell, you would hear the American electorate speaking loud and clear - no more earmarks.
And as for back-dooring money through presidential mandate there is a simple solution. Just cut off the funding. Congress holds the purse strings, not the White House.