No earmarks for Westmoreland

I received this press release from Lynn Westmoreland‘s office:

U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland announced today that he will not pursue earmarks in this year’s budget process as part of his fight to overhaul what he considers Congress’ wasteful pork-barrel spending. Westmoreland’s earmark moratorium will be in effect until the process is reformed, and taxpayers have more confidence that their money is spent wisely, he said.

“I believe that Georgians have lost faith that members of Congress are spending their money wisely; they want to see change, and they want to see leadership,” Westmoreland said. “I have two main goals. First, I want to lead by example and I want to send a serious message to the people in Georgia ’s 3rd District that I share their concern about Washington spending. Second, I want to work to reform how Washington does business. And you can check the record: I’m no Johnny Come Lately to the cause; I was saying the same thing when my own party controlled both houses of Congress.”

The number of earmarks passed by Congress jumped from 3,000 in 1995 to 15,000 in 2005. Last year, Congress passed more than 11,000 earmarks at a cost of more than $15 billion. U.S. Comptroller General David Walker, head of the government’s accountability office, said the earmark process “corrupts the process.” He has testified that the Pentagon has received $20 billion in earmarks that it doesn’t want.
[…]
“This move does not come without sacrifice. My district is one of the fastest-growing in the nation. We have serious infrastructure needs and those of us from the district are more attuned to those needs than bureaucrats in Washington . I will continue to advocate for competitive federal grants to address those needs in my district. In those programs, every one’s on equal footing and the money is allocated based on merit, rather than on who can pull the most strings on Capitol Hill. We need more balance in how federal money is spent across the country, but at the end of the day, we simply need to spend less.”

According to the Political Insider, Tom Price has made the same pledge.

Despite the stance of Westmoreland and Price, it seems that that Republicans in the Senate have given up the fight against wasteful spending and ignored warnings that one of the reasons the GOP suffered losses in 2006 was because of out of control spending.

25 comments

  1. Bull Moose says:

    Okay, I made a point about this a few months back… I’m really impressed Mr. Westmoreland and Dr. Price. Way to show leadership.

    How about the rest of our Georgia Republican delegation?

  2. LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

    wow, you guys are easily impressed…too bad they had no backbone when the Republicans controlled congress. Gimmie a F*****n’ break.

  3. steelfist says:

    Westmoreland and Price are good conservative leaders that make Georgians proud. Let’s see if Georgia’s Pork Barrel Champ Jack Kingston will put his money where his mouth is. I doubt it. There’s your worm.

  4. Harry says:

    Westmoreland and Price are what’s needed in Congress. I hope my representative John Linder follows suit. The appropriators Kingston and Bishop (D) are, as we know, the big time earmarkers in Georgia.

  5. Still Looking says:

    So if Linder has an opportunity to set aside a few million for widening I-85 or 285, he should just pass? I guess Charlotte or Dallas can use it. I say if there no rules, you grab what you can get. There is no sense in Georgia representatives playing with one standard, and the rest of Congress playing with a different standard.

  6. Dave Bearse says:

    Just a thought… Are Georgia’s transportation earmarks full-fledged pork when federal gas tax distribution formulas return only the minimum required by law, 90%, of the federal gas taxes collected in Georgia? The 10% skim amounts to multi0millions.

  7. Holly says:

    Not all earmarks are bad.

    I think the better idea is to be totally transparent in your requests rather than to cut them out. A few representatives have started posting their requests on their web sites. I think that’s a good way to go about it.

    Why do I think that not all earmarks are bad?

    Charlie’s earmarks for the Signal Tower and the Middle East listening center at Fort Gordon likely saved that installation during the 2005 BRAC. Fort Gordon is a federally funded Army fort, which depends on Defense Appropriations to run. Therefore, I’m glad that my Congressman directed that some of the very large defense budget be used specifically for upgrades at Fort Gordon.

    Are there bad earmarks? Oh, yes. But if you cut out the process all together, the funds go into a general fund for bureaucrats in Washington to dole out as they wish. I’d rather my Congressman tell DC where the money ought to be spent in my area, because he should know where the needs are.

    The only reason people get upset about earmarks is because of the ridiculous ones for golf courses and “bridges to nowhere.” There needs to be a change in the process, but the process is not in itself bad. The way to fix it is through transparency.

  8. Harry says:

    The current system allows for trading favors – votes and earmarks in return for favors and contributions from peers and lobbyists – in an underhanded fashion.

  9. DMZDave says:

    Why is it supposedly sound conservative policy to conclude that government bureaucrats know best? These silly pledges simply ensure that some GS-14 has the ultimate say on how money is spent or not spent in Georgia and not the elected representative that presumably knows his district and has a better understanding for priorities. The Constitution gives the power of the purse to the Congress, it is not conservative to give it back to the President.

    I agree with Holly. Charlie Norwood’s “pork” helped the Army recognize the value of Ft. Gordon because he knew better than Army bureaucrats what Ft. Gordon offered. Had they screwed up and closed it, they would have spent hundreds of millions replicating that installation elsewhere. So Charlie’s earmarks saved hundreds of millions. Fortunately he didn’t take the pledge.

  10. Holly says:

    Okay, so our representatives give up earmarks for Georgia funding so that the federal agencies get to see them used as they want rather than for specific projects that the citizens here need. In the meantime, other representatives don’t do that, so the idea of transparency goes nowhere.

    So. . . then how does it help us again?

    I fail to see why they can’t just be voluntarily transparent like John Sullivan from Oklahoma? Then they put their requests out there for us to view and judge while still getting funding directed to the needs in Georgia.

  11. Holly says:

    Okay, John Boehner makes some valid points:

    1. Washington is broken.
    2. Earmarks for private entities are bad.
    3. People want change.

    Why is the focus on earmarks? And why only a year if they’re really so bad?

    Why not do the following:

    1. Vote against the COLA increase for Members of Congress, as was done in 1994?
    2. Vote for all those Gingrey amendments to reduce appropriations budgets by 1% to 5%?
    3. Voluntarily post earmarks requested in an open forum so people aren’t wondering what’s being “favored?”
    4. Vote for a sunshine law for Congress?

    If you’re going to have reform, why not really reform rather than pretend to reform? That’s what people want.

  12. osu_cowboy says:

    Two years ago Senator Tom Coburn, MD (R-OK) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) made the “No Earmark” Pledge and sent letters to all Senator’s to join. Doctor Coburn made that pledge in 1984 when he went to Congress (only Republican of the class of 84 to honor their 3 term limit pledge) I have asked my Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) to make the pledge.
    Senator Barack O’boma (D-IL) has not made the pledge, but he has published all of his earmarks. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) has one of the worst record for earmarks.
    Also in response to Holly about Representive John Sullivan. I lived in his district until last year. He is a “yes” man for the Republican party, and did not once represent me. Even my mother and sister voted for the Democrat.

  13. Icarus says:

    Was Lynn the Rep last night who asked Bush for a third autograph on a program after the speech? Sounded a bit like him, (whomever it was was off camera) and Bush called him on it.

  14. Romegaguy says:

    And this time he means it! No more earmarks for him. No sir.

    Has Rep “Big Porker” Kingston made this promise, too?

Comments are closed.