Thursday, January 18, 2007

Earmarks Jousting

The House has at least put in the vast majority of the earmarks for the requirement that earmarks specify their sponsor, portion of the bill. Funny that Reid has been resisting rather nastily on that level of reform. Been trying to find his quote from yesterday on his belief that the earmark reform from the house is not well thought out. Couldn't find any quote though. Fortunately a Republican pushed the amendment into the bill.

Sadly it's being blocked by a line item veto amendment, that frankly is foolish.
U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said the Senate should act on ethics legislation that would increase scrutiny of federal spending earmarks.

Enzi supported an amendment offered by Senator Jim DeMint, R-S.C., that would enhance disclosure requirements for congressional earmarks, tax benefits and tariff benefits.

“I support ethics reform, but what I believe is even more beneficial to voters and tax payers is increased disclosure of where their tax money is going. We, or rather our children and grandchildren are facing frightening financial times. This amendment would help us see and better gauge when a congressional earmark or other spending project is off the mark so we can correct it,” Enzi said. “Voters want more responsible spending and this amendment would help them more easily judge if they are getting what they want. This legislation discourages wasteful spending.”

The original Senate bill narrowly defined earmarks as targeted funds for “non-federal entities.” DeMint’s amendment requires full disclosure of earmarks, including pork for federal projects (such as earmarks for the Corps of Engineers and the Department of Defense), targeted tax and trade benefits, and all earmarks contained in committee reports, where approximately 95 percent of earmarks are inserted.

The Senate passed the amendment Tuesday after it survived an attempt to table it last week. The move to defeat the amendment was rebuffed by Republicans and 10 Democrats. Democratic Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is resisting further fiscal Republican amendments, such as one proposing a line-item veto, but Reid insists the overall ethics bill will be finished before next week.
The line-item veto is sponsored by Judd Gregg. There is some logic to it, but very little when it comes down to the facts that it pretty much will kill any bill. It should be removed to ensure this reform passes.

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