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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Arizona Senator Jon Kyl just can’t give up earmarks

Photo by Mike Licht
It only took three days for Sen. Jon Kyl from Arizona to blow the ban on earmarks that even Sen. Mitch McConnell from Kentucky had agreed to. McConnell is one of the leading pork barrelers, having bragged in the past about the millions he had directed to Kentucky projects. His shift on the issue was one of the most decent things McConnell has done in the last two years.

This was all prompted by Tea Party influence, especially Sen. Jim DeMint from South Carolina who was instrumental in changing non-binding party rules to eliminate “congressionally directed spending.” That was all on November 15, the week in which Congress was supposed to take a vote on earmarks, but there is some doubt now it will pass. President Obama supports the ban and more, but even some from his own party are in dissension.

Earmarks are spending items inserted in other bills, most likely by a Senator, going to a specific state. Just three days after the GOP renounced earmarks, Sen. Jon Kyl landed $200 million that will settle an Arizona Indian tribe’s water rights claim against the government. Kyl inserted it in a larger bill supported by the President, and then insisted it isn’t an earmark.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said on the floor of the Senate, “I do know an earmark when I see it. And this, my friends, is an earmark.

Kyl supposedly recently joined with the thinking of the senior Senator from Arizona, John McCain, also a Republican, and a stringent foe of earmarks. The junior Senator was impressive during the recent Bush administration when he agreed with everything GWB said or did. At best, Kyl’s congressional accomplishments are limited, consisting for the most part bring back pork to Arizona. Apparently that’s what gets him reelected.

Read more here, here and here.


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