Atlanta Out Loud

Politics and rantings and just stuff that catches my attention.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Taxpayers of the United States lost in the Senate yesterday 82-15! Senator Tom Coburn tried to be a hero standing up for the American taxpayers by introducing an amendment to take a way the funding for the infamous "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska. He rightly reasoned that taxpayers should not spend $4.46 million dollars PER PERSON for 50 people to have this bridge. It would have also saved $229 million for a bridge to UNPOPULATED wetlands.

A HUGE added bonus was that Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska (the man who takes home more pork per capita than any other elected official in Washington) promised to resign if the amendment passed. Now THAT would have been a windfall for the taxpayers!

Unfortunately, the Senate did what they always do and shafted the taxpayers. Eighty-two senators, including our own Johnny Isaakson and Saxby Chamblis, told the American Taxpayers that it is more important to take their money by force and send it to those 50 people in Alaska than it is to reduce the nation's deficit and eventually let the Taxpayers decide how to spend that money themselves.

Interestingly, Mary Landrieu, voted YEA (one of 3 Democrats to do so) even though she's in the running for top Oinker of the Year too. She no doubt was salivating at the possibility of grabbing that money for Louisiana (Coburn had agreed to send $125 million to Louisiana).

This is the first time members of the Senate have gone after each other's pet pork projects. Instapundit reported on a interview by Jed Babbin on Hugh Hewitt's show with Senator Coburn after Sen. Patty Murray of Washington (who sits on the Appropriations Committee) threatened to take a "long hard look" at any projects in a state represented by anyone who voted for this amendment:
JB: Well, does that bother you, Senator? I mean, are you worried so much about Oklahoma projects?

TC: No. I don't ask for any projects. I ran on a platform of saying the biggest problem we face in our country is financial and economic, and cultural in Washington, that if we don't change that, I promised you I will not earmark a thing until the budget is in surplus.

JB: Wow.

TC: So I don't have any earmarks. So I don't have know, there's no power over me to withhold earmarks, because I have none.

JB: Well, how tough is it going to be, though, to undo this culture of pork? I mean, the porksters are all around you. I mean, we're not naming names, but you're outnumbered there pretty solidly, so...

TC: Look, when the American people want things to change, they will change. Just as like in 1994, they changed?
Club for Growth has a statement from Coburn telling us that another amendment also failed:
Dr. Coburn offered another amendment to block funding for three special projects; $200,000 for an animal facility in Westerly, Rhode Island; $500,000 for a sculpture park in Seattle; and $950,000 for a parking facility for a private museum in Omaha, Nebraska. The Senate voted to table, or kill, the amendment by a vote of 13 to 86.
The only glimer of hope is that three Coburn amendments did pass the senate:
The Senate did accept three Coburn amendments. One amendment required that all earmarks be included in the bill’s conference report. This amendment helps lift the veil of secrecy that conceals the process of inserting special projects into appropriations bills. Similar amendments have been attached to the Agriculture, Military Construction and Department of Defense Appropriations bills.

Another amendment limits the amount HUD can spend on conferences to $3 million. Last year the Department spent $13.9 million on conferences.

The other Coburn amendment that was accepted requires the Community Development Block Grant Program run by HUD to cease violating a law that requires them report on their rate of improper payments.
What's the Repbulican-controlled Senate for again????


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