Friday, March 06, 2009

McCaskill Takes GOP to Task on Earmarks

McCaskill takes GOP to task on earmarks; By Sean Rose; Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., brought a dual attack on earmarks this afternoon: a resolution to cut down on the practice and a verbal lashing on the Senate floor of GOP leaders who embrace them.

McCaskill, poking a pencil at the podium as she spoke, said she couldn’t understand Republicans who criticized the stimulus package for being weighed down with earmarks then sponsor earmarks themselves on the giant omnibus spending bill under consideration.

“Every single member of Republican leadership has earmarks in this bill,” McCaskill said. “Every single one of these people rejected the stimulus … because supposedly they were so upset about wasteful spending.”

At one point, McCaskill made a veiled criticism of her fellow Missouri senator, Christopher S. “Kit” Bond, R-Mo., saying there are some who argue that bureaucrats should not decide where spending goes. This has been a common argument made by Bond, a major supporter of earmarks.

“This notion that bureaucrats are doing the decision making — we have the power to tell the bureaucrats how to spend the money,” McCaskill said.

“This notion that somehow we need to do earmarks because the bureaucrats are going to run amok, I don’t get it,” she added.

Bond saw little difference in McCaskill’s logic and the current way of doing things.

“When Congress tells bureaucrats how to spend money — that’s earmarking,” Bond said in an e-mail through his spokeswoman, Shana Marchio. “The bottom line is that I trust local leaders to set priorities in Missouri, not Washington bureaucrats.”

McCaskill’s resolution to limit earmarks would:

* Require earmarks to be included as text in all bills rather than added late in the process;
* Make it law that bills with earmarks to be posted online within 2 days of introduction;
* Expand the authority of individual senators to challenge earmarks;
* Allow earmarks only on public projects.

No comments: