Senate Picks Pork Over Kids

The Senate just voted 68-26 to kill the amendment offered by Senator Tom Coburn that would have redirected earmarks in the Labor/HHS/Education appropriation to funding health care for children instead. The failure of the Senate to pass Amendment 3358 today shows a large disconnect between the rhetoric of the majority in Congress and their actual priorities. After castigating the Bush administration for vetoing a massive expansion of the S-CHIP program to middle-class families who largely don’t need it, two-thirds of the Senate seems more interested in their own pork than in America’s children.
Don’t expect this to get much attention from the American media. However, they will continue to report on efforts by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to contrast the S-CHIP expansion veto to war funding, as the Post reported today in its article on Bush’s new supplemental funding request for the war. Democrats accuse the President of having his priorities backward, but the Iraq war effort hopes to create a stable, moderate, and democratic Iraq that will partner with us against terrorism and make the region safer. That falls within our national-security and foreign policy interests.
What exactly does the pork in the Labor/HHS/Education bill do? It funds Charles Rangel’s Monument to Me to the tune of $2 million, for one thing. That apparently has a higher priority in the Senate than health care for children. It also includes $500,000 for the National Council on La Raza from Tom Harkin (D-IA). Porkmaster Ted Stevens (R-AK) gets $34.5 million for an Alaska Native educational equity assistance program, one of the largest earmarks in the bill.
Priorities. That’s what the Democrats like to argue when they want to strip American troops of needed funding for a mission that has demonstrated growing success. When it comes to protecting their own pork-barrel mechanisms to protect their incumbencies, the health of children be damned.
UPDATE: Here’s the vote. Democrats voting to keep the amendment alive: Russ Feingold (always a reliable anti-pork vote), and Claire McCaskill.
Republicans voting to keep their pork:
Bennett (UT)
Cochran (MS)
Coleman (MN)
Collins (ME)
Craig (ID)
Grassley (IA)
Gregg (NH)
Hagel (NE)
Hatch (UT)
Hutchinson (TX)
Lugar (IN)
Murkowski (AK)
Roberts (KS)
Shelby (AL)
Smith (OR)
Snowe (ME)
Spector (PA)
Stevens (AK)
Sununu (NH)
Voinovich (OH)
Warner (VA)
Thanks for being the enablers, folks. Hope that other white meat tastes gooooood.
UPDATE II: Here are a few other earmarks that come before the Democratic talking point of children’s health care, as noted by Senator Coburn in his statement today:
* $400,000 for Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa, for exhibits, education programs, and community outreach;
* $100,000 for a celebration around Lake Champlain in Vermont;
* $500,000 for field trips in the Chesapeake Bay;
* $500,000 for the “Virtual Herbarium” in New York;
* $50,000 for an ice center in Utah; and
* $130,000 for the National First Ladies’ Library Catalogue in Ohio.

10 thoughts on “Senate Picks Pork Over Kids”

  1. Every dollar spent on pork is borrowed, largely from Asian central banks. The country can’t afford questionable pork, government-paid medical care for middle class children, and at the same time fund the war on terror.
    At least the S-CHIP supporters offered a (questionable) way to fund their program – higher tobacco taxes. For pork, all of the funds will be borrowed, with the real cost higher because of interest. And our children will need to repay the debts or refinance the loans.
    Meanwhile our dollar drifts still lower. In Washington, they just don’t get it.

  2. According to the WSJ, 13,000 earmarks in this years appropriations bills. This includes $500,000 to build a baseball stadium for the Cincinnati Reds in Billings, Montana. I mean, come on, I know the Reds had a bad year . . .
    Constitutionality aside, Rudy, how does a line item veto look right about now?
    If not a line item veto, how do we control the pigs er a representatives?
    Indeed, I forgot, this is the year of the Pig. : ))

  3. I think Larry Craig gives away the secret. He’s got “pork commissions” coming to him. And, he won’t leave the senate without them!
    In other words? The senators aren’t as fearful as you think, about not getting re-elected. They want their COMMISSIONS, NOW!
    The other thing I noticed is how fast Rush Limbaugh’s good news left the stage!
    It’s like you can have one leg up on the staircase, ready to enter the train. And, ZOOM, the ride disappears. Becomes “yesterday’s” news.
    Can Hillary win?
    Sure. In a race that goes down to the wire, 50/50. Means the GOP loses all its advantages.
    Can Guiliani save the day? Dunno.
    I don’t fortell futures.
    But I sure can smell opportunities going haywire.
    Hillary, if she pulls off her presidency; sits in the catbird seat. I doubt she’d make “early mistakes,” like she did when Bill got to DC, back in 1993.
    And, Hillary IS a politician! She’d have an agenda. Not like the what’s left of the political parties as we’re coming down this pike. (Is Chris Muir channeling this with Skye’s passenger ride to the airport to pick up “mom?”)
    There’s no leadership in Congress.
    The republicans have NONE.
    And, the Nancy Pelosi looks likes she’s driving in a Keystone Comedy flick. (Well, the Keystone Cops weren’t hated, ya know?)
    Oh, America’s had divisive politics going, now, for quite a while.
    And, in politics, all you can ever do, when you win, is what’s POSSIBLE. Dreamers? Saints? Maybe, they should leave their auditions to the movie industry?
    By the way, if either politician who runs in 2008, cannot get past all the “hate dialog” … it’s just a continuation of same, then. Perils of Pauline.
    Now, one thing a Hillary win would provide is a deminution of the hatred flowing out of the left.
    That would be one sewer pipe closing down.
    With the GOP then becoming an open spigot. In a world where “good” headlines don’t last. And, somebody’s already jumping on your parade.
    Plus. Up ahead. Bush’s Waterloo. At Annapolis. If he isn’t smart enough to pull the plug. November 26, 2007. The mess is gonna stink to the high heavens. Well, even without predictions, there are just so many ways the current road, goes. I don’t think Bush can fold Israel up like a cheap suitcase.
    And, Olmert’s already gone ahead on September 6th, without the Bush/Condi/Gates/Baker “red light.”
    Looked to me like he avoided the Red Light, like a happily married man avoiding the whores, “in the district.”
    Yet, Olmert says no words. Go figa. What silence gives ya; when you’ve already made your sale.

  4. Coburn has done us all a great service. With that little dig, he has assured that SCHIP is dead. How can the Democrats now claim they have the children in mind when they put the pig first? This vote will come back to haunt them. Just watch.

  5. As a former native of Billings, Montana, I can say that the Red’s have had a farm team there for years, the Billings Mustangs. They have played at Cobb Field for years. The Cobb Field stadium is a wood structure with some stucco.
    Funny thing is, I thought they were rebuilding the stadium a couple years ago. Will have to start researching the Billings Gazette.

  6. I’m very pleased to see that the two senators from No. Carolina, Dole and Burr, are not on the list. They just scored some points with me that I’ll remember at election time (Dole is up for reelection next year).
    I’m waiting for our resident lefties to tell us why this pork is good. I’m DYING to hear why it’s OK for the federal government to spend $500,000 on a “Virtual Herbarium” in NY.
    Who are the senators from that state again? My memory is failing. Can somebody help me out on that?

  7. Sent to Senator Hutchison’s (R, TX) web contact page:
    Dear Senator Hutchison,
    I do not support pork, and I am disappointed that you do. Your vote against Amendment 3358 is a disgrace. You have too often opposed what I consider core conservative values. In this case, you have voted visibly and deliberately for the corruption that cost the Republican caucus so many seats in ’06.
    Best that you run along home, now. Perhaps we can get an actual Republican candidate elected to your seat.

  8. I’m confused. It’s not exactly remarkable that the Republicans voted to keep their pork. What’s remarkable is the 45 or so Democrats, from the party that supported SCHIP so strongly, voting against this amendment. Now we know where their priorities lie:
    Maybe a list of Dems who voted to kill the amendment would be in good taste, given that nearly half the Repubs voted for it.
    Or is it just that the Dems don’t want anything smaller than the SCHIP expansion to pass because it would justify the SCHIP veto?

  9. When Pork Trumps “The Children” (or, How Many Health Insurance Plans Could You Have Bought With the Money they’re Spending?)

    Man, that Tom Coburn is one smart cookie and the Senate Democrats are a bunch of feckless weasels.
    Why do I say that? Well, do you remember the past two weeks when you couldn’t swing a dead cat in Washington and not hit a Democrat nearly in …

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