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Posted at 11:15 AM ET, 12/16/2010

From the grave, they still earmark

By Jennifer Rubin

You would think that at least death would halt earmarking. But no, that's not how Congress works. The Wall Street editorial board tells us: "The late John Murtha of Pennsylvania is so powerful he's still getting pork from his grave: $10 million for the John Murtha Foundation. Ted Kennedy also scored a legacy earmark. The omnibus includes $8 million for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute secured by Congressman Ed Markey (D., Mass.)."

It does suggest that there are those who haven't learned very much from the Tea Party rallies, the polls and the midterm elections. And it's not just the Democrats, mind you, who are oblivious. There are a flock of Republicans, some no doubt heading for K Street after they depart the Senate, who are inclined to vote for this latest spasm of spending. The Journal editorial board writes:

We're told that at least six and perhaps as many as 10 Republican Senators may give Mr. Reid the votes he needs to pass this monstrosity. That list includes Susan Collins of Maine, Mr. Cochran, and looming retirees Kit Bond of Missouri, Bob Bennett of Utah and George Voinovich of Ohio. This is the same Senator Voinovich who yesterday voted against extending the Bush-era tax rates on grounds that they are unaffordable.

Mr. Voinovich is retiring with this Congress, and if there were any justice in politics taxpayers could revoke his pension. As for Mr. Bennett, this vote explains his re-election defeat.

This is, in a nutshell, why lame duck sessions are fraught with peril for taxpayers. If you think elected politicians tend to be unresponsive to voters, you now can see just how unresponsive retiring or defeated pols can be.

There is some good news here, however. The elected Republicans coming in the door, who won races fought on an agenda of fiscal discipline, are generally to the right on economic matters of those whom they are replacing, be they Republicans or Democrats. Whether the freshmen remain stalwart in the upcoming year remains to be seen. Let's at least hope they are a tad more responsible than those who are departing, either voluntarily or at the hands of angry voters.

For now, what's the alternative? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has introduced a one-page bill, a continuing resolution to fund the government through February 18. McConnell took to the floor to deplore the omnibus spending bill. He included these observations on the omnibus bill:

"It runs just under 2,000 pages. And it's got more than a billion dollars in it for the Democrat health care bill that an ever-growing number of Americans want to repeal, not fund. This is exactly the kind of thing the American people voted against in November.

It's unbelievable, really. Just a few weeks after the voters told us they don't want us rushing major pieces of complicated, costly, far-reaching legislation through Congress, we get this. They want us to ram this gigantic, trillion dollar bill through Congress -- and they're using the Christmas break as a inducement to get us to vote for it. This is no way to legislate. Americans expect more from Congress -- and they demanded more on Election Day."

Well, Senate Republicans can stop the omnibus in its tracks, and rebuff the earmarks from the grave, by a filibuster. But will they?

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 16, 2010; 11:15 AM ET
Categories:  Budget, economy  
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Next: How's that 'reset' working out?


Personally I do not believe there are any politicians left that have the good of our country at heart! What a shame. The more our country needs true heart loyal politicians in charge, we get the low life personal gratifying ones we have. By the time we can vote them out they really don't care because they already have all they want. obama is in the middle of these also. Reps and Dems. both included

Posted by: vageorge | December 16, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Posted by: BluePelican | December 16, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Vageorge writes:

“Personally I do not believe there are any politicians left that have the good of our country at heart! What a shame. The more our country needs true heart loyal politicians in charge, we get the low life personal gratifying ones we have. By the time we can vote them out they really don't care because they already have all they want.”

Or how about: “All News is biased; FOX is the worse of them (because Media Matters tells me so), but so is MSNBC, ABC, CBS, etc.”

I could call this lame thinking, because of course it is; but it is really sounds much more like the defense mechanism of someone refusing to come to grips with the moral and ethical bankruptcy of the 111st Congress and Liberalism in general.

The nation obviously needs Term Limits. I recently had an exchange with a Massachusetts Liberal who has voted Democrat all her long life. She was bewailing the urgent need for Term Limits. I pointed out that she would have to change her voting habits to ever get Term Limits. Her response was that if I ever thought that she would do that I could fuggetaboutit as she voted again for the complete Democratic ticket, all incumbents, many of them in office for ages.

If you really want the benefits of independence, you have to genuinely believe in independence, and be independent. (BTW, the Tea Party movement is not racist; but if you let ideologues do your thinking for you, you will never know.)

Posted by: nvjma | December 16, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I hope that the senate republicans do the right thing and stop this monstrosity in its tracks.

With regards to term limits, I'm a nonbeliever. We have them here in California, and what you end up with is a professional lobbying class (many of whom are former representatives) manipulating a bunch of newbie legislators. We can all see how that's worked out for the Golden State! I'd rather see some age limits (probably illegal, sadly) for those who represent and pass judgement on our laws. 80 would seem to be the upper age for the intellectual competency need to do the job.

Posted by: Beagle1 | December 16, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I have posted this already here before You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price check search online for "Wise Health Insurance" If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy about it and believe me you are not going to loose anything!

Posted by: patewart | December 17, 2010 2:16 AM | Report abuse

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