by John Hawkins | March 20, 2007 1:57 pm
This is absolutely grotesque,
House Democratic leaders are offering billions in federal funds for lawmakers’ pet projects large and small to secure enough votes this week to pass an Iraq funding bill that would end the war next year.
…But at least a few Republicans and conservative Democrats who otherwise would vote “no” remain undecided, as they ponder whether they can leave on the table millions of dollars for constituents by opposing the $124 billion war funding bill due for a vote on Thursday.
“She hates the games the Democrats are playing,” said Guy Short, chief of staff to Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.), a staunch conservative who remains undecided, thanks to billions of dollars in the bill for drought relief and agriculture assistance. “But Representative Musgrave was just down in southeastern Colorado, talking to ranchers and farmers, and they desperately need this assistance.”
…A few Republicans are at least considering a vote for the bill, including Reps. Wayne T. Gilchrest and Roscoe G. Bartlett of Maryland. Some conservative Democrats who had been expected to vote no on Thursday are wavering.
To get them off the fence and on the bill, Democrats have a key weapon at their disposal: cold, hard cash. The bill contains billions for agriculture and drought relief, children’s health care and Gulf Coast hurricane recovery.
For Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.), there is $25 million for spinach growers hurt by last year’s E. coli scare. For three conservative Democrats in Georgia, there is $75 million for peanut storage. For lawmakers from the bone-dry West, there is $500 million for wildfire suppression. An additional $120 million is earmarked for shrimp and Atlantic menhaden fishermen.
So far, at least in public pronouncements, the $21 billion in funding beyond President Bush’s request has earned Democrats nothing but scorn.
…House GOP leaders have accused Democratic leaders of flagrant vote-buying.
“The war supplemental legislation voted out of the Appropriations Committee last week was an exercise in arrogance that demonstrated the utter contempt the majority has for the American people and their hard-earned tax dollars,” fumed Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.). “We are at war with a ruthless global terrorist network, yet the appropriators allocated hundreds of millions in funds to gratuitous pork projects.”
…But the success of adding the spending measures will not really be known until the votes are tallied. Rep. Bobby Jindal (R-La.), who is running for his state’s governorship, has conspicuously refused to say whether he can vote against $2.9 billion for Gulf Coast hurricane recovery, including $1.3 billion for New Orleans levee repairs.
Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), usually a reliable vote for the Republican leadership, is undecided as he ponders how he can vote against drought relief he has worked for months to secure. The same goes for Musgrave, whose district has been devastated by drought.”
In this country, they used to say, “Millions for defense, not one cent for tribute.” Now, the Democrats want to change that to, “Millions for surrender, not one cent for victory.” And these Congressmen who are considering surrendering to Al-Qaeda for pork? Disgraceful.
Imagine one day, far in the future, dying of old age and having this on your tombstone, “I did my part to see my own country humiliated and defeated in Iraq for $75 million in peanut storage.” Ugh…
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