Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How to deal with Pork Spending

Pork barrel spending, otherwise known as earmarks, are individual spending items added by a Senator or Representative without going through the normal appropriations procedure. Often inserted by committee chairmen prior to final passage, most people don't know that they even exist. But they are a valued part of governance it seems, even as Obama has called the massive spending bill known as the "stimulus" being free from pork, it still displays all of the basic elements of being pork, while at the same time amounting to over a trillion (Sorry, first time, it was billion, but that is just such a little number these days). Now we learn that the leaders of both houses are against the idea of removing pork as we spend our way into oblivion.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants the White House to tread lightly on earmarks, saying that any push by the Obama administration to clamp down on pet projects would be met with strong opposition from congressional leaders.
Since it seems too hard for our elected officials to exercise any form of self restraint, we need to have a Constitutional Amendment along the same lines as that in our own State Constitution. The actual language could suit just as well for the feds:
Proposed Amendment

Section 11. Bills. (1) A law shall be passed by bill which shall not be so altered or amended on its passage through the legislature as to change its original purpose. No bill shall become law except by a vote of the majority of all members present and voting.
(2) Every vote of each member of the legislature on each substantive question in the legislature, in any committee, or in committee of the whole shall be recorded and made public. On final passage, the vote shall be taken by ayes and noes and the names entered on the journal.
(3) Each bill, except general appropriation bills and bills for the codification and general revision of the laws, shall contain only one subject, clearly expressed in its title. If any subject is embraced in any act and is not expressed in the title, only so much of the act not so expressed is void.
(4) A general appropriation bill shall contain only appropriations for the ordinary expenses of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, for interest on the public debt, and for public schools. Every other appropriation shall be made by a separate bill, containing but one subject.

In this way, we the People will be able to do that which our elected officials seem hopelessly incompetent to do.


Mark T said...

Earmarks in FY 2008: $17.8 billion. Not a big deal. Full disclosure would be nice - one of the worst offenders was Conrad Burns.

Steve said...

Could you please tell me how that makes it better?

Mark T said...

It's just not terribly significant.

And you guys were all over the airwaves in 2006 telling us that not electing Conrad Burns would cost us our earmarks.

Hypocrisy is definitely not OK.

Steve said...

Physician -Heal Thyself!