Friday, April 2, 2010

Republicans Mimicking Democrats: The Gimme Money Edition

Three in Congress, Including Ron Paul, Defy GOP Ear Mark Ban

Three Republican congressmen have defied their party's decision to ban all earmarks for one year, a move that could cost them their committee posts.

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Reps. Anh "Joseph" Cao of Louisiana and Ron Paul of Texas have joined Rep. Don Young (AK) in requesting earmarks for the 2011 fiscal year, despite a House Republican caucus vote this month to institute a moratorium on earmarks for one year.

Those members' committee assignments could be on the line, according to a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner.

"The Leaders expect all House Republican members to comply with the moratorium," the spokesman, Michael Steel, said in an email. "There will be situations have some confusion on how these rules are implemented, but if Members are deliberately breaking the rules, it will be a serious matter and one that the Steering Committee will consider."
You would think that with the country in serious debt and about to have its bond rating lowered, that at least Republicans could act fiscally responsible. Unfortunately, it is hard to make people act responsibly when they are spending other people’s money.

Take Paul, for instance. His position is that the government takes too much money from citizens so he has a duty to his constituents to take as much of that money back from government as possible. That brilliant bit of circular logic has led to these ear mark requests from Paul:

Project Name: City of League City Streetscape
Recipient: City of League City
Recipient Street Address: 305 E. Main Street
Recipient City: League City
Recipient State: TX
Recipient Zip Code: 77573
Requested Amount: $1,000,000

Explanation of request, including purpose and why it is a valuable use of taxpayer funds: Installation of pedestrian enhancements to improve pedestrian access to transit. Includes sidewalks, ADA ramps, wayfinding signage,pedestrian lighting, bike racks, and other transit amenities such as benches and trash receptacles.

Project Name: Historic Downtown Redevelopment Project
Recipient: City of Baytown, Texas
Recipient Street Address: Baytown City Hall
Recipient City: Baytown
Recipient State: TX
Recipient Zip Code: 77522
Requested Amount: $2,500,000

Explanation of request, including purpose and why it is a valuable use of taxpayer funds: The Historic Downtown Redevelopment project will transform and modernize Texas Avenue by redeveloping downtown into a premier destination for residents and visitors to live, work, and play. This project will support economic growth by creating a pedestrian friendly area with landscaped sidewalks and medians. The project also includes new benches, trash receptacles, bike racks and decorative street lighting.
Both admirable projects I am sure, but, is it really a good use of the taxpayer’s dime to be spent “prettying up” a couple of cities in Texas? Looking over Paul’s “wish list” I see several projects that belong in the “nice but not necessary” pile.

That is the problem with ear marks. Rather than using them to fund essential projects, Congressmen go on shopping sprees. Now we face a situation where it is time to put the national credit card away and pay for all those neato projects from the past. I would have thought that Republican Congressmen understood that. Apparently not in all cases

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