Friday, December 28, 2007

Bringing home the bacon

Paul Kanjorski has been doing it for years just as Dan Flood was a master of the appropriations process. Joe McDade wasn't to shabby either and his successors Don Sherwood and Chris Carney have upheld the tradition.

There were 9,800 earmarks in the latest omnibus spending bill that Bush criticized but signed into law. That's kind of funny, the guy that has blown up the federal budget with the biggest expansion of the government since LBJ and signed every pork laded bill that the Republican Congress sent him now tut-tuts and tries to claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility. And like Johnson, he won't ask the American people to pay for a war with no end in sight. The refusal to raise taxes for Vietnam started the last cycle of deficit spending.

A Google search of this bill has newspaper articles from all over the country listing the local projects that will be funded and our guys made sure that Northeast PA got it's share. The Scranton Times has a list of projects broken down by county that will be funded. I'm sure you can make a case for each one on the merits but the problem is the process. I don't see any Congress (Democrat or Republican) changing the rules so our local representatives did what we elected them to do, look out for our interests.

Most of the projects listed sound worthy such as $1.1 million for the Wyoming Valley Levee Raising Project and $98,840 for the Scranton Sewer Authority to help comply with a federal order to separate the city’s storm and sanitary sewer systems. Some others need further investigation like $150,000 for an economic development initiative at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts in Wilkes-Barre. I love the Kirby but why is federal money being pumped into the place?

According to USA Today Rep. Christopher Carney, D-Pa., who won in a heavily Republican district, secured the most money among the freshmen members. He was sole sponsor on 21 earmarks worth $18.2 million. That ranked him 48th among the 426 House members who requested earmarks.

In an e-mail, Carney spokeswoman Rebecca Gale called the earmarks "critical investments in the region's future."

One man's pork is another's vital economic development project. Until they change the rules I'll take the pork.


Bernie O'Hare said...

Gort, I'd like to try and figure out which Congressman in the PA delegation scored the most. You have Carney w/ $18.2 MM. Dent oulled in $20.5 MM.

Gort said...


I haven't checked but I'm sure Murtha topped them all.