The undisputed king of pork in the House has another championship trophy for his wall. Despite a game effort by Rep. Bill Young (R-FL), who actually got more earmarks into the upcoming defense appropriation bill, John Murtha outscored him on total dollars spent on protecting his incumbency. The King spent $150 million of our money on his pet projects:
Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), chairman of the House Appropriations defense panel, has secured the most earmarked dollars in the 2008 military spending bill, followed closely by the panel’s ranking member Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.).
Even though Young secured 52 earmarks, worth $117.2 million — and co-sponsored at least $27 million worth of others — Murtha’s 48 earmarks amount to a total of $150.5 million, according to a database compiled by the watchdog organization Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS).
The House is expected to take up the $459.6 billion defense appropriations bill Friday. It contains 1,337 earmarks, costing $3.07 billion, which is less than half the number and value of earmarks in last year’s bill.
Ah, they don’t really think that they can fool a Porkbuster, do they? The Democrats claimed that they had stripped all of the earmarks out of an earlier appropriation in the first weeks of the 110th, too. It turned out that they just wrote letters pressuring the agencies to spend the money on legislator’s pet projects as if the earmarks existed in the bill.
The former chair of the Appropriations bill, Jerry Lewis (R-CA) won the Bronze Medal this time around. He has $95 million in earmarks, which qualifies him to be Murtha Lite — all the arrogance with just two-thirds of the pork. The rest of Congress managed to get their share of the spoils as well; Nancy Pelosi has $37 million in earmarks, Steny Hoyer $26 million, and Norm Dicks (D-WA) got $44 million.
The King may have won another championship, but in this game, all the players win, regardless of party. It’s a beautiful thing, baby …. unless you’re a taxpayer. We’re the only losers here.
UPDATE: Thanks to CQ commenter filistro for noticing that F-FL should have been R-FL.