by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Birthplace of Independent Conservatism
Forgive my skepticism, but please people, do not anticipate change anytime soon. Short of an Egyptian style revolution.
As House conservatives push for ever-deeper spending cuts, a tough question confronts GOP leaders: What sweetener will convince their rank and file to swallow bitter budget medicine?
In the past, that sweetener would have been earmarks, the local pork barrel projects that lawmakers could trumpet to constituents back home. Now earmarks are gone, or at least drastically curtailed, banished first by Republicans and more recently by President Obama and Senate Democrats.
Some argue that earmarks will now simply go underground, and that lawmakers will channel federal money to pet projects through federal grants, tax credits, and other avenues. No doubt the business of bringing home the bacon will continue, and Washington lobbyists who’ve built a lucrative industry out of earmarks are already reassuring clients that federal money lives on.
“You need certain tools to make legislation flow, and this was a great tool,” said former Rep. James Walsh, R-N.Y., now a government affairs counselor at the law firm of K&L Gates. Walsh should know: He served 16 years on the House Appropriations Committee and chaired four Appropriations subcommittees while on Capitol Hill. Earmarks “always get criticized,” Walsh added. “But if you’re in the room making sausage, you need to round up votes.”
“Money will find a way, and it will be far less transparent,” said Walsh. He added: “It’s part of the genetic makeup of a legislator to try to find a way to help your community.”
Yup, looks like the American song and dance routine will continue for the foreseeable future.
Good luck America! Read the rest of the sordid details here.
Cross posted to Rational Nation USA