December 11, 2007

Democrats Fight For The Right To Pork

Our neighbor, Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin, has demanded that the White House start approving some Congressional pork if he wants funding for Iraq. Senator Robert Byrd believes fiscal responsibility means increasing domestic spending if the nation has to spend more money on defense and foreign aid in a time of war. Both represent the Democratic petulance regarding the White House demand for a stripped-down omnibus bill:

A Democratic deal to give President Bush some war funding in exchange for additional domestic spending appeared to collapse last night after House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey (D-Wis.) accused Republicans of bargaining in bad faith.

Instead, Obey said he will push a huge spending bill that would hew to the president's spending limit by stripping it of all lawmakers' pet projects, as well as most of the Bush administration's top priorities. It would also contain no money for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. ....

That still leaves the war-funding issue unresolved. Democratic leadership aides on Capitol Hill concede that at some point, Republicans can add some money for Iraq as a stripped-down spending bill winds through Congress. But plans for a quick end to the showdown appear to be fading.

"It is extraordinary that the president would request an 11 percent increase for the Department of Defense, a 12 percent increase for foreign aid, and $195 billion of emergency funding for the war while asserting that a 4.7 percent increase for domestic programs is fiscally irresponsible," Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) said.

Let's get this straight. The nation is fighting a war on two fronts, and Byrd finds it extraordinary that the Bush administration wants more money for the nation's defense and diplomatic efforts. At the same time, Byrd can't figure out that spending less on domestic programs means that the White House has actually begun to budget the nation's money based on priorities, rather than just mollify old pols and continue the pork-barrel nonsense. Perhaps Byrd has little familiarity with the concept, but when most people and organizations spend more on one area of their budget, they have to cut others.

And Byrd finds this "extraordinary"?

The White House has taken a hard line because it sees Byrd, Obey, and the rest of the Democrats falling back on an old and expensive gambit -- the omnibus bill. Instead of handling the appropriations process normally by issuing specific spending bills prior to the start of the fiscal year, this Congress has gone more than two months into FY08 without completing its work. Now they want to roll everything into one appropriation in order to force the administration into accepting all of the pork and spending programs they couldn't pass during a normal appropriations process, holding the budget hostage in order to do so.

Bush has decided that he wants to play hardball in order to ensure that doesn't happen. It puts Byrd in the ridiculous position of defending a budget that's almost three months late as fiscally disciplined. Obey now has to go to the Washington Post to complain that he has to strip pork out of the federal budget because Bush wants Congress to prioritize its spending. The Democrats have found the Republican leadership unsympathetic to their plight on this round of budget negotiations, having dealt with the Democrats' pre-election intransigence in last year's budget negotiations.

Obey says anyone who thinks that Congress will finish its business next week is smoking something illegal. Any Democrat who thinks that conducting a national fight over the retention of pork-barrel projects soaring into the billions will impress American voters must be bringing the dime bags themselves.


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» Democrats Demand Pork In Exchange for Military Spending from Right Voices
Gee how I wish I could find a way to make this sound as if the Democrats are just kidding, but alas, they are serious. “Give us our pork and we will give you that stupid military spending that you keep harping about Mr. President”: A Democ... [Read More]

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