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Thread: House Votes To Disclose Earmarks

  1. -1
    Eshlemon's Avatar
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    House Votes To Disclose Earmarks

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...091401674.html

    The House voted yesterday to shed more light on narrow-interest tax and spending legislation called earmarks, an incremental step toward openness that ended the prospect for a more sweeping overhaul of federal lobbying laws this year.

    With a 245 to 171 vote, the House reacted to a year of congressional scandals by requiring its members to own up to the thousands of earmarks they sponsor each year.

    Earmarks have been at the center of corruption investigations involving several lawmakers and lobbyists, and a public outcry against them helped spur a high-priority effort this year to devise ethics legislation that would have restricted contacts between lobbyists and members of Congress.

    Instead, the House simply changed its internal rules to require that these targeted programs and their sponsors be disclosed in every type of bill, a procedure that does not currently exist. The measure, like any such rule change, could expire at the end of the year, but it is likely to be re-adopted along with the House's many other rules, Republican leaders said.

    "We are blowing away the fog of anonymity," said Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Rules Committee. "The goal is to pull back the curtain on earmarks to the public."
    The larger ethics effort began with fanfare in January, prompted by a series of congressional scandals that started with the guilty plea of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff on fraud and conspiracy charges.

    The ethics bill faltered, however, after being gradually diluted, at least compared with the initial promises made by congressional leaders. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), for example, advanced a plan that would have prohibited lawmakers from accepting privately funded travel. But lawmakers rejected that provision along with many others that would have restricted lobbyists or would have done more than improve disclosure about lobbyists' encounters with Congress.

    The House and the Senate did endorse separate lobbying-overhaul bills this spring, but efforts to reconcile them stalled over a disagreement about a House-passed provision that would restrict independent campaign organizations called 527s. Senate Democrats and a handful of Republicans refused to accept the provision, but the House insisted that it be included in the final bill.

    Lawmakers from both parties and both chambers also lost their enthusiasm for the bill as lobbying groups pressured them to water down the legislation and voters remained silent about its diminishing prospects.

    Democratic leaders complained about the earmarks change yesterday. Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-N.Y.) called it "shameful" and "a sham." She said that the measure would not end the abuse of the earmarking process and was filled with loopholes that would still permit anonymous projects to be inserted into law without public scrutiny.

    Obey called the measure a "trivial pursuit," saying it would do little to alter federal spending while blocking a serious updating of federal ethics laws. "The majority has labored long and produced a mouse," Obey added, "or a fig leaf at best."
    Looks like major lobby reform isn't gonna happen:

    "This bill represents the death of lobby reform," said Rep. David R. Obey (D-Wis.), a former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
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  2. -2
    Section126's Avatar
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    Well..this is good news.
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  3. -3
    cnc66's Avatar
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    not if it setback the reforms that aRE really NEEDED
    18-1 Choke of the Century

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    Eshlemon's Avatar
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    House battle heightens over spending 'earmarks'

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/06/....ap/index.html

    House battle heightens over spending 'earmarks'
    POSTED: 10:39 a.m. EDT, June 12, 2007

    Story Highlights
    • Dem chair Obey: Stop politicizing earmarks or, "no earmarks for anybody"
    • GOP accuses Dems of not honoring promise to disclose earmark requests
    • "Democrats still making it easy to hide wasteful spending," says GOP leader
    • House panel restores rail, highway, housing funds that Bush wants cut

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Partisan sniping over Congress' targeted spending escalated Monday as a House committee chairman threatened to kill all pet projects if Republican leaders "demagogue" the issue.
    Sounds good to me.

    When they assumed control of Congress in January, Democrats rewrote House rules to require that earmark requests -- and the people who make them -- be publicized in documents that accompany spending bills as they are being debated. But Obey earlier this month said such lists would not be available until the House had voted on the bills and readied them for a House-Senate committee for final negotiations.
    Seems a lot like what was similarily attempted at first with the immigration bill, we'll tell you about the earmarks after we've voted for them.

    Obey told reporters Monday that lawmakers have submitted thousands of earmark requests this year. Many will be rejected immediately, he said, but his committee's staff needs time to investigate them. "I'm trying to deal with the reality of the situation," he added.

    Obey offered a slightly different plan Monday. "Before the August recess," he said, his office intends to list "every earmark that the committee expects to try to include in a final conference product" with the Senate. Any lawmaker can question or challenge any request and, he said, the earmark's sponsor will be asked to respond.

    "They'll be hanging out there for 30 days" of public scrutiny and comment while Congress is on its summer break, Obey said. "If the committee makes the wrong choice, it will pay a political price," he said.
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  5. -5
    zach13's Avatar
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    It is amazing to me that anyone believed that the Democrats would bring meaningful reform to Congress.

    They held the Congress for decades and institutionalized all of the bad practices that we all hate today in our Congress.
    Free Tibet

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    Megatron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zach13 View Post
    It is amazing to me that anyone believed that the Democrats would bring meaningful reform to Congress.

    They held the Congress for decades and institutionalized all of the bad practices that we all hate today in our Congress.
    There's that fat brush again, how about "some".
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    zach13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megatron View Post
    There's that fat brush again, how about "some".
    I might be wrong about this, but it could actually be "all".

    The Democrats held power for so long that basically the entire way that the modern Congress operates is derived from their practices and procedures.

    Of course, to be fair, I would then have to extend them credit for any positive practices and procedures.

    I just can't think of any
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    Obey Lost - Taxpayers Won!

    http://www.cagw.org/site/News2?page=...news_iv_ctrl=0

    OBEY LOST - TAXPAYERS WON!

    Washington, D.C. - Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today claimed victory in a fight for earmark transparency in the House. After a wave of protest from across the political spectrum, Democrats finally backed down from plans to keep taxpayers in the dark about tens of billions of dollars in congressionally-earmarked spending items until the bills were in the House-Senate conference. Earmarks will now be included in appropriations bills and subject to debate and amendment.

    “Democrats promised real earmark reform, but then took the first opportunity they could to find a loophole and get back to pork-barrel business as usual,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz. “The American people are sick and tired of the bait and switch from Congress, especially when it comes to their tax dollars.”
    Chairman Obey’s scheme flouted the spirit of new House rules, which call for earmarks to be provided in appropriations bills and which would allow them to be challenged on the floor of the House. Republicans, and particularly Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a stalwart opponent of the recent earmark bonanzas, took a stand and protested Obey’s plan by bringing House proceedings to a grinding halt. Democrats also felt the heat from the media, their constituents, bloggers, and taxpayer watchdog groups like CAGW. The outrage, which showed no sign of abatement, along with the Republicans’ commitment to throwing up endless procedural roadblocks, finally forced the House Democratic leadership to agree to list earmarks with the bills.

    “Chairman Obey wanted to stay behind closed doors and play ‘God’ with earmarks, but the taxpayers won this battle for transparency and accountability,” concluded Schatz.
    :party:

    Taxpayers winning is not something you get to hear enough from CAGW...or anywhere.
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  9. -9
    Megatron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eshlemon View Post
    http://www.cagw.org/site/News2?page=...news_iv_ctrl=0





    :party:

    Taxpayers winning is not something you get to hear enough from CAGW...or anywhere.
    That really is a cause for celebration, good for you guys down south. :cooldude:
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    DolfinDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zach13 View Post
    It is amazing to me that anyone believed that the Democrats would bring meaningful reform to Congress.

    They held the Congress for decades and institutionalized all of the bad practices that we all hate today in our Congress.
    Couldn't it just be that they felt the Dems couldn't do any worse than the Repubs? Its not like they have many other options if they don't like the current situation. So what do you expect them to do when they clearly don't like what's happening?

    Back on subject, what else is new? They always provide themselves with loopholes. I wish as a whole we would realize that we can change this sort of stuff if we hold them accountable.


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