Monday, November 08, 2010

Mitch McConnell On Earmarks

Last week, after the voters in just a few states kept him from becoming the Senate Majority Leader in January, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced what would be the Republican agenda in the 112th Congress. You’re probably guessing that McConnell’s agenda would include cutting taxes, creating jobs, repealing the so-called “Obamacare” health reforms, or other of the proposals that Republicans ran on in the recent midterm congressional elections. Well, if that’s your guess, you are wrong. Instead, Senator McConnell announced that the Senate minority’s number one objective was making sure that President Obama was not reelected in 2012.

If Mr. McConnell were speaking as the head of a political party, his objective would be perfectly reasonable. Making Barack Obama a one-term president is a legitimate goal of the Republican Party. But as a government leader (although still in the minority in the Senate) one would expect that Mr. McConnell might have some more government-like goals. Senator McConnell’s single objective was questioned by many, including the next Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner. So, Senator McConnell announced a new objective yesterday.

In what was just a two paragraph blurb in Richmond’s great metropolitan daily, Mr. McConnell was reported to be willing to consider a ban on earmarks in appropriations acts. However, Mr. McConnell said that such a ban would be more complicated than it appears. He also acknowledged that banning earmarks would not cut federal spending, since earmarks only affect executive branch discretion on how to spend appropriations, not the amount of the appropriations. So, Mr. McConnell put to sleep the claim that earmarks increase federal spending.

Maven, wait, is that all you’re going to say?

Yes, beloved reader, that is all I have to say.

But, maven, aren’t you going to tell us that Senator McConnell is wrong, that earmarks do increase federal spending?

No, Senator McConnell is right. Earmarks are nothing more than statutory directives controlling how certain appropriations are used by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government.

But, for two years the Republicans have been telling us that earmarks put in appropriations acts by Democrats are a major cause of budget deficits. They’ve told us that eliminating these earmarks would help balance the budget.

Reader, that was before the election. Besides which, they were only talking about Democratic earmarks. Since the Republicans will control the House of Representatives in the next Congress and will therefore be writing all the appropriations acts, we don’t have to worry about Democratic earmarks any more.

Maven, are you saying that Mr. McConnell’s announcement that he would consider a ban on earmarks is meaningless?

I’m sorry. Time is up. No more questions for today.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said. It's almost like the GOP doesn't care about the country. But no, that couldn't be. Could it?

Tanya Free said...

We are in agreement my friend.I am also awaiting an agenda from the party of"NO".

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