The Back Scratching Congress

Posted: Apr 02, 2007 3:56 PM

The Democrat's are not living up to their campaign promises to reform the earmark process and reign in abuse. Just today, it was reported in Roll Call that Democratic Senator Max Baucus, who chairs the subcommittee on transportation and infrastructure, used his position to force a $140 million earmark into an upcoming water project authorization bill. The funding, which will go towards a distribution system in northern Montana has elicited outcry from several Republicans. Baucus and full committee chair Barbara Boxer have now offered to "offset" this massive request with another $140 million for Republican members.
Simply amazing. I have never heard of an "offset" that actually meant doubling spending. Normally, an offset means you reduce funding in one area, so that you can raise funding in another. Not for the Democrats. It's easier to just increase spending and buy off the opposition.
What's more, the Democratic leadership in the Senate has yet to pass disclosure rules for earmarks. Right now, there is little to no daylight during this entire back or "baucus" scratching process. We need more transparency and discipline, otherwise taxpayers will continue to see their paychecks thrown around like monopoly money here in Washington.