Sen. Harry Reid has ditched the Omnibus spending bill after outrage poured forth from the public and from some Republicans.
The blogosphere and even government-allied media had blazed all day Thursday with the tale of the $48 billion earmark no one wanted to take credit for.
A database by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) turned up billions in earmarks mostly from Democrats but also from some Republicans including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Two of the most vocal critics were Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.)
The earmarks in the bill were a work of art.
The Dept. of Housing and Urban Development appeared to be a favorite. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) asked for $2,000,000, “for the restoration and redevelopment of a blighted area” in the City of Spokane (Wash.) Dept. of Housing and Urban Development; neighborhood initiatives.
Outgoing speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) asked for $1,250,000 for “critical infrastructure and housing development work” in the City and County of San Francisco, Mayor’s Office of Housing. Once again the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development was listed with the general category listed as neighborhood initiatives. Pelosi had more than one earmark for community center construction in San Francisco.
Barbara ‘Call me Senator’ Boxer (D-Calif.) asked for $2,000,000 for the Embarcadero Goods Movement Project in Oakland. In July, 2010, Boxer issued a statement expressing pleasure over her appropriations requests. Among those she named was the Embarcadero Goods Movement Project. The amount was $2 million—funds for helping “improve Interstate 880 off-ramps, and to widen the rail crossing over the estuary channel in Oakland.” Boxer noted: “When completed, this project will improve railway capacity to the Port of Oakland and passenger transit along AMTRAK routes in Northern California.” Was the omnibus earmark a new one? Only Boxer’s crony knows for sure.
A columnist for The Southeast Missourian had a field day with a $48 billion earmark believed to have been supported by Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO.)—Cleaver said he didn’t support it—you can read the column by Mike Jensen and it’ll give you an idea why our government is so confused. That’s the nicest word I can come up with.
Politico said McConnell had an “estimated” $112.8 million in earmarks in the bill.
Apparently Congress is giving a nod to outrage from taxpayers who want Washington’s spending spree to stop. Main Street has cut back. It’s time Congress did as well.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Dec. 17, 2010)