Nussle noted that Congress is empowered to “police itself” but said “the President has taken on the challenge of [eliminating] waste, fraud and abuse and highlighting earmarks and pork-barrel projects.
“We need to highlight these abuses,” Nussle said.
The Heritage Foundation compiled a sample list of the requested earmarks here. Some of the items include a $3 million earmark for the lending program managed by the open border group National Council of La Raza, $1 million for the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock Arkansas, and $3.7 million to combat the Formosan Subterranean Termite.
Republican Sen. Ted Stevens (Ala.), who came under fire for a past request of $400 million to fund a “Bridge to Nowhere,” has requested $34 million for the Alaska Native Educational Equity Assistance Program, $7 million for an Arctic Energy Office and $150,000 for rodent control on the Aleutian Islands.
Nussle acknowledged getting tough on Republicans could cause heartburn among those who face uphill battles in the coming elections.
As a former Republican member for the left-leaning 1st District in Iowa, Nussle said, “there is a popular belief if you were a vulnerable member--and I was in that category seven of my eight terms, I was always considered vulnerable--one of the things that is often offered to you were opportunities to pass bill on the floor or to have a [pet] project, and it was thought this was a way for you to get some good attention back home, to look like you were effective and to bring home the bacon, so to speak.”
“And I have to tell you that it does in some instances it does work like that,” Nussle said. “But, I would say it’s a waning strategy in terms of its effectiveness. I would say most constituents now are not as impressed by your ability to waste federal dollars then they used to be.”