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Posted at 10:20 AM ET, 12/15/2010

Plan B, if the pork-a-thon gets through

By Jennifer Rubin

It's not clear whether a combination of outraged Republicans and nervous red state Democrats can filibuster the omnibus spending bill and its thousands of earmarks. But Bill Kristol has a marvelous suggestion if it gets through:

Shouldn't the Republican House leadership commit to making H.R. 1 in the next Congress a bill rescinding all the earmarks and the whole $8.3 billion?

None of the appropriated funds will yet have been spent--and so Republicans will have the chance to begin their control of the House by acting against earmarks and saving taxpayers money. The Republicans in the Senate can then offer the bill as an amendment to the first piece of legislation on the floor in the new Senate, if Majority Leader Harry Reid refuses to bring the rescission to the floor. I suspect such an up or down vote on the earmarks, separated out from a broader appropriations bill, would pass. And President Obama--who's against earmarks--would surely sign the rescission.

It would be a nice start for the new GOP Congress.

In other words, the Democrats can do this the easy way or the hard way. The easy way is to dump the omnibus bill and save themselves from the wrath of outraged voters and pundits on both sides of the aisle. The hard way is to ram this through, endure an avalanche of bad press and then face the Kristol bill. Their choice, really. What do you think they'll do? (Tell me your predictions in the comments section.)

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 15, 2010; 10:20 AM ET
Categories:  Budget  
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The Democrats will pass the complete omnibus spending bill, give the nation the finger, and take their chances on the Kristol bill, which they reckon is an absurd long shot.

Posted by: nvjma | December 15, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

But what will happen to all those poor young people living on the dole at the University of Kentucky through McConnell's earmarks? Won't they rise up in the streets of Lexington like their British counterparts in London?

Let's be square with each other. Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint walk the walk on most issues for the Republican Party, everybody esle is just a poseur.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 15, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

So they repeal all 6,488 earmarks, so what? That only amounts to $8 billion. What about things like the $1.25 billion for funding Obamacare that's in there? If this passes the Republicans will have capitulated.

Posted by: mhavis | December 15, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

It might help if you or anyone whining about earmarks would be honest about what they are. Earmarks are not new or additional appropriations; they merely direct a portion of the total money appropriated to be spent on certain projects. The money will be "steered" places by someone, no matter what happens to earmarks. At least earmarks are fairly transparent.

Posted by: whitman22 | December 15, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse


What are you talking about

HOW can we have a lame-duck which is set on jamming through a liberal agend WITHOUT a MASSIVE SPENDING BILL ???

You knew this was coming.

You knew the patients were running Congress.

When this bill came out yesterday, it was $1.1 Trillion Dollars - but last night with all the earmarks - it had gone to $1.2 Trillion Dollars.


That's 100 Billion Dollars - about the cost of the ENTIRE Federal Government for ONE year during World War II - including the War.


Posted by: RainForestRising | December 15, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

'Abandon all Hope' for earmarks to go away. We are dealing with politicians here. Greedy, self-indulgent abusers of tax dollars who tell the voters what they want to hear. Who in their right mind would believe any politician unless they were under oath in a court of law?

Posted by: Tom89 | December 15, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I wonder how many and what dollar amount of these earmarks is from Republicans and their teaparty branch?

I've read that those republicans in office this past year who claim to be members of the tea party caucus requested (and got) over $1B in earmarks.

And who is Bill Kristol to pass judgment, anyway? He is one of the neo-cons who strongly pushed the Iraq war, killing well over 4,400 of our military personnel, severely maiming and injury, physically and mentally, well over 30,000 of our military personnel, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and who knows how many injured; AND, wasting a trillion dollars of our tax payer money.

And, by the way, $8.3B in earmarks may include some "good earmarks." This $8.3B is about the same amount that the Iraqi CPA under Paul Bremer "lost" (between $8B and $9B) when he was in Iraq. No one threw much of a fit over this; in fact, one or two Republicans said this was a "small price to pay" for the Iraq war.

Earmarks may be wrong; they need to be looked at much more carefully; some probably need to be killed; but don't doubt for one second that many probably are coming from Republicans/teapartiers, and I wouldn't listen to anything Bill Kristol has to say.

Posted by: Denjudge | December 15, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I just read an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and John Thune (R-SD) just held a news conference.

They were "pestered" by journalists asking them why John Cornyn had some 45 earmarks in this bill and asking why John Thune had some 26 earmarks in this bill. Thune's total earmarks alone totalled to over $100 million.

When asked about these earmarks, they both said they intended to vote against the bill, even though they put earmarks in it. Thune even said, "I support those projects, even though I don't support the bill." Cornyn said, "You're missing the story if it's just about earmarks."

Cornyn appeared to be irritated with the qestioning, and they both left quickly.


What is the story if it's not just about earmarks?

Why did they even put these earmarks in to start with?

Are Republican earmarks good earmarks and Democratic earmarks bad earmarks?

How many earmarks were put in by other Republicans?

What's wrong with these Republicans, anyway? They say one thing, yet they do something different.

Posted by: Denjudge | December 15, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

As a voter I just want to slap them upside the head. WTH is wrong in Washington that they can't get their act together?

Voters have told them over and over and if it takes another election cycle to remove more incumbents who can't or won't work for voters so be it.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | December 15, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

John Thune and John Cornyn need a little PR help from John Kerry.

I actually voted in favor of the bill, before I voted against it.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 15, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

this omnibus spending bill is a long-time coming .. and most of the pork provisions were requests made months ago - prior to the November elections.

By presenting this Omnibus Bill, Harry Reid is merely proving that he is not worthy of being a representative of the people - those foolish voters in Nevada deserve him, but the rest of us don't.

Posted by: Hazmat77 | December 15, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

John Thune is RAPIDLY turning into a disappointment. Just like Inhofe. And Scott Brown.

Posted by: fmcdermott1 | December 15, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

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