There are laws - even ethics rules - against buying votes in Congress. Lobbyists (Jack Abramoff and others) went to prison for attempting to buy votes and congressmen (Randy "Duke" Cunningham and Bob Ney) went to prison for selling them.
As with so many things Congress does, the rules they make for others do not always apply to some of its members.
In the scandalous, shortsighted sellout of American troops in Iraq, a slim Democratic House majority passed a measure that speaker and top vote buyer Nancy Pelosi claimed would "end the war in Iraq." The claim is preposterous because, even if the Senate were to pass such a measure, there are insufficient votes to override a presidential veto. One can hear the cheering in the enemy camps, as they exhort their young suicide bombers to kill themselves, and just a few more infidels, for Allah, because the worldwide Islamic empire is drawing nearer.
While the Democratic "leadership" and certain of their media acolytes crow about the "historic day" when the measure was passed, the real historic note is how so many were willing to sell their votes for blatant self-interest. Perhaps, knowing the measure would never become law; these "public servants" figured they might as well grab all the pork they could get.
Attached to this bill of surrender, as chronicled by Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) is $21 billion in pork to buy the votes of some members. Among items offered in exchange for votes was $283 million for the Milk Income Loss Contract program; $74 million for peanut storage costs; $60.4 million for salmon fisheries; $50 million for asbestos mitigation at the U.S. Capitol Plant; and $25 million for spinach growers. I'm surprised no aid was provided to pet food manufacturers to help them recoup the losses incurred after rat poison was found in their products. Oh, well, maybe next year.
The Senate is waiting to lard on to the emergency war supplemental bill multiple pounds of its own pork. CAGW reports that among the outrages in the Senate measure are $24 million for sugar beet producers; $20 million for reimbursements to Nevada for "insect damage"; $3.5 million for guided tours of the Capitol (don't most people expect to buy tickets for such things?); and $3 million for sugar cane and the transfer of funds from holiday ornament sales in the Senate gift shop.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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