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Yet more progress, Obama style


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#1 cookinwithgas

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 08:38 PM

http://www.huffingto...s_n_534524.html

Congress Slashed Earmarks In 2009: White House Analysis

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress obtained about 2,000 fewer pet projects for their home states last year, according to a White House analysis released Monday.

Lawmakers stuffed 9,192 so-called earmarks into spending bills last year, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $11 billion, the analysis found. By White House calculations, that's a 17 percent drop in the number of earmarks and a 27 percent reduction in cost.

"All too often, earmarks are an easy vehicle for special interest dealmaking – inserted into congressional spending bills without filter for merit, need, priority, or any scrutiny," White House budget chief Peter Orszag said in a statement.

"Although more needs to be done, the news is encouraging: Earmarks are down by double-digit percentages," Orszag said.

Earmarks like road and water projects are a cherished tradition and skyrocketed during GOP control of Congress. Democrats have succeeded in cutting them back a little and have instituted reforms to make the process more open and less subject to corruption.

House Republicans have sworn them off this year as they seek an edge in the November elections.

"Abuse of the earmark process is a symbol of how Washington is broken, and Washington Democrats have done far too little to fix it," said House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Still, budget watchdog groups and the White House itself said the drop in earmarks is not quite that dramatic because accounting for some water projects has changed.

White House budget office spokesman Tom Gavin said that even when those projects are excluded, the cost of last year's earmarks went down by about 14 percent from the year before.

Taxpayers for Common Sense, an anti-earmark group, says the cost of last year's earmarks was even higher, more like $16 billion. That is because the group counts billions of dollars spent on Pentagon programs the administration has sought to kill off but that Congress has revived. Such programs include the C-17 cargo jet that President Barack Obama opposes.

Opponents of earmarks say they have a corrupting influence on lawmakers, getting them to support spending bills they would otherwise oppose. And they say they created a "pay-to-play" culture in which companies seeking earmarks and their hired lobbyists returned the favor with campaign contributions.

The definition of an earmark varies, but they are most commonly regarded as a specific project, contract or grant not requested by the president but inserted into one of the annual spending bills.

Once inserted by the most senior and powerful lawmakers and those on the appropriations and transportation committees, earmarks mushroomed after Republicans took over Congress in 1995.

Then, GOP leaders like Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia and Majority Whip Tom DeLay of Texas, saw earmarks as a way to help endangered Republicans keep their seats and to reward lawmakers loyal to GOP leaders.

When the Bush White House first counted up earmarks for 2005, with Republicans in control of the House and Senate, it discovered about 13,500 earmarks totaling about $19 billion. That's about one-third more than last year, at a 41 percent higher cost.


Progress.

#2 southcakalac

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 08:42 PM

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#3 ChucktownK

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 08:44 PM



#4 House

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 08:51 PM

http://www.huffingto...s_n_534524.html



Progress.


While I comend Congress and the Senate on getting the amount of earmarks down. Something that needed to be done for years. There is nothing in that story about the $1,300,000,000,000.00 earmark that Obama signed off on.

I think they called it a "stimulus". After that hefty fuger there has not really been a need for earmarks.

#5 venom

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 08:59 PM

http://www.huffingto...s_n_534524.html



Progress.


:puke:

#6 cookinwithgas

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 09:40 PM

ahh I can feel the hate swelling within you


wait thats just disgust with the fact that he has been able to make progress on yet another one of his radical leftist agenda promises

#7 venom

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 10:09 PM

obama style, haha...do you actually think obama has any real power in this country? he's the spokesman for wall street and the banking community. two-thousand fewer pet projects is nothing to get excited over.

#8 Jangler

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 10:13 PM

Don't forget the New New World Order. Alot like New New Minglewood Blues only not as cool.

#9 ItsNotGonnaBeAlright

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 10:24 PM

Wait...a precentage drop from what? The previous year?

The Democrats have controlled Congress since 2006 right?

And are we including the peices of legislation such as the second stimulus act that weren't technically earmarks since they were actual written legislation?

#10 Jase

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 10:27 PM

You think too much, INGBA.

#11 ItsNotGonnaBeAlright

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 10:30 PM

You think too much, INGBA.


Well, like Bill Hicks said, I'm a reader.

#12 cookinwithgas

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 10:23 AM

obama style, haha...do you actually think obama has any real power in this country? he's the spokesman for wall street and the banking community. two-thousand fewer pet projects is nothing to get excited over.


If it was two thousand more projects if would Satan driving down the street in his pink Cadillac.

#13 ChucktownK

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 12:16 PM

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#14 cookinwithgas

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 02:22 PM

http://www.cnn.com/2...dex.html?hpt=T1

Watchdog group finds smaller servings of congressional pork

(CNN) -- The "Pig Book," an annual report detailing the excesses of pork spending, has served up its usual heavy-duty mockery of congressional excesses. But this year the meat spit is smaller.

The number and costs of congressional pork projects dropped this year, the Citizens Against Government Waste said in its "2010 Congressional Pig Book Summary," issued on Wednesday.

The 9,129 projects in the report "represent a 10.2 percent decline from the 10,160 projects identified in fiscal year 2009, and the $16.5 billion in cost is a 15.5 percent decrease from the $19.6 billion in pork in fiscal year 2009," the group said.

The nonpartisan group, which has been shining the light on how members of Congress use the earmarking process to steer money to projects in their districts, attributed the decrease in part to "reforms that were adopted when Democrats took over Congress in 2006."

Read more about "Oinkers" awards from the "Pig Book"

"The changes include greater transparency, with the names of members of Congress first appearing next to their requested projects in 2008, letters of request that identify where and why the money will be spent and the elimination of earmarks named after sitting members of Congress in the House."

Leslie Paige, the Citizens Against Government Waste media director, also said that "there's been pressure from taxpayers because earmarking has become a problem" and "we've got a really huge debt and people want to see some kind of restraint."

"We're starting to whittle away at it," she said, calling earmarks "unaccountable" and "walking around money" with a "corruptive nature."

But the group, which backs the elimination of earmarks, said "the transparency changes are far from perfect."

For example, it said the 2010 Defense Appropriations Act has 35 anonymous projects "worth $6 billion, or 59 percent of the total pork in the bill." Of the 9,129 projects in the report, there were 81 anonymous projects worth $6.5 billion.

The "Pig Book" said Hawaii leads the nation in pork spending per capita, replacing Alaska.

"Following the exit of Alaska porker extraordinaire Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, the state slipped to No. 4 in pork per capita. Hawaii led the nation with $251 per capita ($326 million). The runners up were North Dakota with $197 per capita ($127 million) and West Virginia with $146 per capita ($265 million)."

Wyoming is lowest at $12.28 per capita ($6.8 million), followed by Minnesota, at $12.78 ($67 million), Arizona, $13.90 ($91 million), and Indiana, $14.19 ($91 million).

The report presents a list of humorous awards for projects and people it calls "Oinkers" of 2010.

For example, there's "The Thad the Impaler Award" to Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Mississippi, for $490 million in pork projects. The report said Cochran has the highest dollar amount of earmarks and the highest number of projects at 240.

A statement from Cochran's office defended his budget requests. "Throughout the appropriations process Sen. Cochran continued to advocate for meritorious programs that were omitted from the president's budget. Those requests were vetted to ensure that the funds were for lawful and legitimate purposes and would serve the public interest."

House and Senate members have said that projects dubbed pork have created jobs and spurred development and enterprise in their home districts.

To qualify for the "Pig Book," a project must meet at least one of these standards: It was requested by only one chamber of Congress, was not specifically authorized, was not competitively awarded, was not requested by the president, greatly exceeded the president's budget request or the previous year's funding, was not the subject of congressional hearings or served only a local or special interest.

The group said that for fiscal year 2011, House Democrats aren't requesting earmarks that go to for-profit entities and House Republicans aren't requesting any earmarks.

"None of these reforms are sufficient to eliminate all earmarks," the group said, noting it expects to issue another "Pig Book" next year.

But, Paige said, "we're going in the right direction."



#15 ChucktownK

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 03:04 PM

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