Thursday, March 12, 2009

NEPA earmarks

Congressmen Chris Carney and Paul Kanjorski made sure that our area made out well in the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act in addition to stimulus money that will be coming down the pipe.

Carney's new Director of Communications Vince Rongione sent out a couple of press releases detailing the $4.5 million he secured for local projects including $1 million for the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The Stourbridge Line railroad in Honesdale and the Tyler Memorial Hospital in Tunkhannock will also see some needed funds. Money is also headed to Jermyn, Factoryville, Lackawaxen, Milford and Pike County for various projects.

Kanjo's office teamed up with Senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey to put out a triple headed press release that I got from his Press Secretary Abigail McDonough that details $13 million of federal spending that is headed our way. The biggest chunk is for flood control projects in Scranton ($4.5m) and Wyoming Valley ($1.2m). Wilkes-Barre is a big winner with almost $1 million to fix up Coal Street Park and $700,000 for law enforcement including all those creepy surveillance cameras. There is also a rapid fire list of $95,000 grants to local hospitals/health care providers.

This one I really like. Kings College gets $181,000 to move WRKC's transmitter from the top of Holy Cross Hall in W-B to Penobscot Mountain to expand the broadcast area. This has to be good news to Father Tom of Things at King's who has been doing The Radio Home Visitor for as long as I can remember. Now more blind people can hear what the newspapers have to say. My favorite Republican talk show host on WILK, Sue Henry, also has a music show on the weekends on WRKC that I enjoy. I would like to hear what she thinks of this piece of pork.

Senator Specter is

Rising above partisanship

Sixty-four years ago, Sen. Arthur H. Vandenberg (R., Mich.) famously declared that in matters of foreign policy, "politics stops at the water's edge." His post-isolationist Senate career stands as a monument to the benefits of bipartisanship - an approach that endured through the Cold War and beyond.

Today we stand not "at the water's edge," but we are staring over the edge of the economic cliff. What we are experiencing is so painful and dangerous that we must dampen, if not remove, partisanship for the common purpose of saving the nation.

The debate in Congress over the economic stimulus was only a foretaste. Health care, national security, education, and energy, including global warming, are issues that will require cooperation and compromise.

Genuine bipartisanship is more than inviting Republicans to the White House or the president addressing GOP caucuses on Capitol Hill. Republicans must do more than ritually invoke fiscal conservatism. Rather, we must apply our principles of fiscal conservatism to the times. As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said, "There are no atheists in foxholes and no ideologues in financial crises."

The challenges we face are not subject to rigid formulaic solutions, whether defined as fiscal conservatism or Keynesian economics. Nor should they be subject to hasty and ill-defined solutions, as happened with the TARP bailout, passed under duress and the threat of an imminent banking collapse. The December auto bailout faced similar pressures for haste.

Genuine bipartisanship requires early consultation involving Republicans in structuring legislation - something that was noticeably absent in preparing the economic stimulus package. In the words of an old Washington maxim: "If you want legislators in on the landing, it is necessary to have them in on the takeoff."

Bipartisanship would also benefit from following regular legislative order.

The $700 billion 451-page TARP bill was passed with no time to study, no meaningful hearings, no committee markup or committee report, no floor debate and no time to offer amendments, including provisions for oversight. The stimulus bill was also enacted in great haste with little time for regular order. Is it any wonder that the public is angry? The majority party has an obligation to see that regular order is followed.

According to recent polls, the public gives President Obama high marks for his efforts at bipartisanship while faulting Republicans on the same score. As a Republican in loyal opposition, I believe the party's road to relevance lies in applying our party's philosophy adapted to the times and tempered by a willingness to seek areas where agreement is possible.

Fiscal discipline and a preference for small government are always relevant in spending taxpayer money. Republicans need to make sure these principles are part of the upcoming debates and the massive spending bills that the president and the Democrats will be proposing in health care, education, and energy. Democrats need to make sure Republicans are involved in developing and guiding the legislation though the process.

Many Republican governors put aside philosophical objections to accept the benefits in the stimulus bill. Their actions, like mine, pose political risks, but as John F. Kennedy said, "Sometimes party loyalty asks too much." It is not too much to suggest that in this time of economic distress, both parties work together for the common good.


Former NEPA Blogger said...

if Lou beat Kanjo, I wanted to work for him and steer a shit load of money to Kings (I don't think Lou took the anti earmark approach of Hackett)

This is why i am pro earmark, Members of Congress should chose where ht money goes not the executive branch, granted congress needs to a better job of deliberating over the earmarks. But something like this would never get a grant because the executive branch does not understands the important role King's college plays in the NEPA community, i would say it has done more to help NEPA and W-B than Wilkes, Scranton, Marywood, Misercordia E Stroud, Bloom, and the three Penn states combined,

former NEPA comment said...

before anyone gets all worked up about the first sentence was a joke, I know Gort understands that, but I have a feeling others will not. I had no connection the the campaign or any in whatsoever. But I still think King's should get a shit load of money.

Anonymous said...

funny earmarks when they come to our district, pork when it goes to another.

f--- it all....

Anonymous said...

the below list is off the voice's web site
* $1,248,000, Wilkes University rural geo-spatial information systems program.
* $1,187,000, Wyoming Valley Flood Control Project.
* $950,000, Wilkes-Barre’s Coal Street Park redevelopment.
* $950,000, improvements to the Interstate 81 and Route 924 interchange near Hazleton.
* $500,000, Wilkes-Barre police record management system.
* $475,000, revitalization of distressed neighborhoods in Luzerne County.
* $381,000, renovation of patient rooms in Mercy Special Care Hospital.
* $200,000, Wilkes-Barre surveillance camera system.
* $181,000, expanding the signal at WKRC, the King’s College radio station.
* $138,000, Hazleton General Hospital radiology department.
* $95,000, renovation and equipment at Wyoming Valley Health Care System.

how is any of that shit gonna provide new jobs or give any real stimulus to the region. seems like mostly b.s. to me

Anonymous said...

Directed "spending" like this is the reason we have the problem we have with a enormous deficit.

"If you rob peter to pay paul, you'll always be able to count on paul's support"

For those dopes who believe that this is "free money", check your paycheck to see who "free" it really is.

Anonymous said...

just thinking about all this, and thought of madoff robing peter to pay paul, isn't social security just a huge fucking ponzi scam???????????????????

Don Williams said...

All we've heard about from Paul Kanjorski for the last decade+ was how he was working to clean up the Susquehanna River. For some reason, I'm not seeing any funds to clean up the CSO's in this latest round of taxpayer-funded pork. Could it posibly be that he

Tom Carten said...

Couple of thoughts...

What's pork going to the other guy is a fine roast when it arrives on our dinner-table.

Mike Rudolf, long-time local media person, once said, "There's so much pork at Steamtown, the locomotives don't whistle, they oink."

Anonymous said...

We all make light of the Pork - but it's sad to say, since we don't have the balls to stop it, our kids are going to pay our bills.