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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Earmark Central Update : 'King of Pork' Rules and GOP Gets Cold Feet Re: Earmark Reform

Earmark Central
Being politically tone-deaf must be an occupational hazard for politicians. Which would explain how, after the 2010 elections, the GOP could elevate the 'King of Pork' to chairmanship of the House Appropriations Committee.

Rep. Hal Rogers may have sworn off earmarks as he lobbied his way into the powerful House Appropriations Committee chairmanship, but there’s a reason he’s earned the nickname “Prince of Pork.”
Over the past two years, Rogers has requested $175,613,300 in earmarks, including funding for a cheetah protection nonprofit that his daughter works for.
That earmark figure, compiled by the LegiStorm database, counts only the 98 earmarks for which Rogers was the sole sponsor and not the 37 that he co-sponsored with other members. All told, the longtime appropriator has requested $246 million in earmarks over the past two years. On Wednesday, House Republicans formally granted Rogers the Appropriations chairmanship.
Throughout his 27 years on the committee, Rogers has left a trail of earmarks, including a sparkling airport terminal in Somerset, Ky., that gets very little traffic, as well as a homeland security research center.
To be sure, like other House Republicans, Rogers has marched along with his party’s orders and hasn’t asked for earmarks since the House GOP’s moratorium went into place earlier this year.
Fiscal conservatives, who opposed his bid for the Appropriations chairmanship, went after Rogers’s earmark record Wednesday, saying it shows that Republican leaders are ignoring voters’ concerns about the deficit.
“Did you show up at the polls on Nov. 2 for nothing? It seems that way,” conservative blogger Erick Erickson wrote Wednesday morning, urging readers to call their lawmakers before the GOP conference formally approved the steering committee’s recommendation. “If you believe the GOP must change their ways, you must then fight against Hal Rogers’s appointment and support Jack Kingston instead,” he wrote.
The Wall Street Journal and conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh also panned the decision.
Electing Rogers accords nicely, not with the elections, but with the sentiments of his fellow GOP lawmakers, who apparently find cutting earmarks as easy, as, say, kicking heroin.

As Jake Sherman observes in 'GOP gets queasy over earmark ban ' :
After agreeing to kill earmarks, some of the most conservative GOP lawmakers are already starting to ask themselves: What have we done?
Indeed, many Republicans are now worried that the bridges in their districts won’t be fixed, the tariff relief to the local chemical company isn’t coming and the water systems might not be built without a little direction from Congress.
The official definition of an earmark, under Republican Conference rules, is any request for “authorizing or recommending a specific amount of discretionary budget authority, credit authority or any other spending authority for a contract, loan, loan guarantee, grant, loan authority or other expenditure with or to an entity, or targeted to a specific state, locality or congressional district other than through a statutory or administrative-formula-driven or competitive award process.”

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