Democrats are weaseling out on earmarks

“The truth is that Democrats want the public to believe they’re committed to ending the culture of corruption without actually doing it.”

It was good news to hear that House Democrats had adopted a ban on earmarks to for-profit companies. The bad news is their version of a ban wouldn’t apply to 90 percent of all earmarks.

Instead of adopting an all-out ban on earmarks House Democrats have decided to ban earmarks for for-profit entities, while continuing to green light funding for the next Bridge to Nowhere, ACORN or to clear the way for the Napa Valley Wine train.

House Appropriations Chairman Rep. David Obey told reporters Wednesday the ban would have stripped 1,000 earmarks from the last budget. What he didn’t say is that President Obama signed 11,320 earmarks, worth nearly $32 billion, into law last year.

Citizens Against Government Waste found that Mr. Obey nabbed 64 earmarks worth more than $115 million in 2009. Among them was $335,000 to relocate endangered mussels, $125,000 for a scenic trail and $5 million for lighthouse reconstruction. None of those earmarks would be touched by his ban.

Neither would the $1,750,000 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, secured for the Presidio Heritage Center or the $500,000 earmarked by House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, for oyster research.

The truth is that Democrats want the public to believe they’re committed to ending the culture of corruption without actually doing it.

Nothing less than an all-out ban on earmarks will suffice. A partial ban on earmarks will only produce partial reform.

That’s why I’m going to force a vote in the Senate on a real earmark ban. Under my ban Rep. Charlie Rangel, New York Democrat, wouldn’t be able to spend $2 million tax dollars on his “Monument to Me” in Harlem, a program at The City College of New York named after himself.

Earmarks are the currency of corruption and Americans are disgusted by the way they are used to grease the skids to pass big-spending bills, like the bank bailouts and the stimulus bill.

Members of Congress must sincerely commit to becoming fiscally responsible and that starts by giving up all of their earmarks.

Not one in every 10.

Thankfully, it appears the GOP Leadership in the House of Representatives will lead by real action. Reports indicate that the House Republicans may vote this morning to enact their own ban on earmarks with or without Democrat support. If they are successful, I hope it will begin the end of the culture of big spending in our own party and prove Republicans are serious about earning back the trust of taxpayers.

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