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October 24, 2006
Allen On Porkbusting, Webb Absent

If anyone thinks that Washington hasn't at least heard the outcry over pork-barrel spending, George Allen's post at Redstate will provide enough evidence for even the most hardened cynic. Running for re-election in a tight campaign, Allen understands that the key to victory is to convince fiscal conservatives that he has joined the reform effort, and he outlines his case:

Porkbusters represents citizens demanding accountability from their government. That is grassroots activism at its very best, and I share their goal.

Congress doesn’t have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem. Toward that end, I have supported a “Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights,” including:

* The Line Item Veto: Senator Talent and I have taken the lead on legislation proposing a Constitutional amendment to give the President the authority that 43 State governors presently possess, and which I had as Governor of Virginia – the line-item veto – which would hold the President and Congress accountable for non-essential wasteful government spending.
* The Balanced Budget Amendment: I have also introduced a constitutional balanced budget amendment which ensures both fiscal responsibility and helps to restrain the federal government to its constitutionally limited mandates, leaving more powers and freedoms to the States and to the people.
* The Paycheck Penalty: This legislation that I introduced would withhold the salaries of members of Congress if they do not pass appropriations bills on time. This helps to avoid omnibus spending packages that become great vehicles for wasteful spending
* Supermajority Vote: I support requiring a supermajority vote to increase spending beyond the rate of inflation.

Allen sponsored the Coburn-Obama bill creating a searchable Internet database for the federal budget, and hes' sponsoring another bill (Stop Over Spending Act of 2006) which will enact the items on his list above. The effort intends to show Virginians that Allen wants to separate himself from the free spenders that have run Congress for the past six years.

Will it work? James Webb doesn't directly mention federal spending on his Issues page for his website. He does, however, talk briefly -- very briefly -- about "infrastructure":

The crumbling infrastructure of the country is the direct result of failed leadership at the national level. Jim has often observed that hurricane Katrina did not destroy New Orleans; rather, the damage was the direct result of 15 years of poor leadership and arrogance that prevented necessary improvements to the levee system. This same incompetence threatens Americans of all social and economic backgrounds.

That sounds like Webb wants to spend a lot of money on projects, although his site is maddeningly vague about what he has in mind. It seems that Webb wants to repeat the mistakes of New Orleans, for instance. He rightly observes that the hurricane did not cause the flooding that destroyed most of the city, but a levee system that failed under conditions that should have been within its tolerance. However, it didn't fail from a lack of funding; in fact, the levees got upgraded not long ago, and it was the upgraded section that failed. Louisiana received quite a bit of federal funding to prepare for that disaster, too, but no one seems to know where that money went.

Readers will not find anything about fiscal responsibility on Webb's issues pages. They will find the basis of a lot of public projects, which usually means higher taxes and more waste. For instance, Webb tells Virginians that their transportation system needs an overhaul -- and that he's going to get the federal government to foot the bill. He also gives a vague shout-out to single-payor fans by saying that he will push for legislation to provide health care to all Americans, although he gives no specifics on how to do that. At the end, he then tells Virginians that legislators should be beholden to no one except their constituents, right after he uses generalities to propose vast new federal spending that will attract lobbyists like moths to a flame.

One Virginian at least sounds serious about fiscal responsibility, and it isn't Webb.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 24, 2006 5:28 AM

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» CapitolLink: George Allen's Obeisance To Blogs from Beltway Blogroll
Sen. George Allen almost sounded like a blogosphere expert in his guest post at RedState yesterday. You would never suspect from his opening praise for bloggers and their importance to candidates that Allen, R-Va., waited until August -- after he... [Read More]

Tracked on October 24, 2006 11:18 AM

» Allen On Porkbusting, Webb Absent from Bill's Bites
Allen On Porkbusting, Webb AbsentEd Morrissey If anyone thinks that Washington hasn't at least heard the outcry over pork-barrel spending, George Allen's post at Redstate will provide enough evidence for even the most hardened cynic. Running for re-ele... [Read More]

Tracked on October 24, 2006 2:42 PM


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