House Republicans have taken a stand against wasteful Washington spending by calling for a complete freeze on all "earmarks" and pork-barrel projects. While our challenge has largely fallen on deaf ears — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, could shut down the earmark process tomorrow if she wanted to — our cause has a strong ally in Sen. John McCain.
Mr. McCain has been a leader in the quest to end pork-barrel spending and has led by example — the senator, like myself, doesn't request earmarks. He strongly supported a one-year moratorium on all earmarks in the U.S. Senate. And as president, Mr. McCain has promised that any "earmarked, pork-barrel bill that comes across my desk, I'll veto it."
Mr. McCain's opposition to wasteful spending is a breath of fresh air to taxpayers who foot the bill for congressional spending sprees. Americans aren't interested in paying for teapot museums, peanut storage and "monuments to me," where congressmen name buildings and other projects after themselves. And with families feeling the pinch of high gas prices and skyrocketing health care costs, they're certainly not interested in tax increases.
Not surprisingly, Mr. McCain's Democratic opponents have quite a different record on spending. In 2007 alone, Sen. Hillary Clinton, New York Democrat, earmarked $340 million in taxpayer dollars. Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat, earmarked more than $91 million. As recently as last week, both campaigns refused to disclose their full list of earmark requests.
The pressure finally got to Mr. Obama, who released his 2005-06 earmark requests on March 13. His requests include $1 million for a hospital where his wife served as vice president of community and external affairs.
While Mrs. Clinton continues to decline demands that she make her requests public, one nonpartisan watchdog group says the senator landed 360 earmarks from 2002 to 2006. In 2007, Mrs. Clinton admitted to seeking funding for a hippie museum in Bethel, N.Y. Her spokesman has stated flatly that Mrs. Clinton is "very proud" of her earmarks, which cost taxpayers more than $2.2 billion.
Both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama received poor marks on the Club for Growth's 2007 report on pork-barrel spending and government waste. Mr. Obama received a score of 33 percent for his votes against anti-pork legislation, while Mrs. Clinton scored even worse: 11 percent. Another group dedicated to protecting tax dollars, Citizens Against Government Waste, echoed the Club for Growth's poor rankings. They gave Mr. Obama a lifetime rating of 22 out of 100. Mrs. Clinton received a lifetime rating of 10 out of 100. In other words, taxpayers beware.