Oh, my. Who could ever have thought that Republican members of Congress would turn out to be hypocrites about earmarks?
At the beginning of the 112th Congress, a wave of Republicans swept into control of the U.S. House of Representatives, pledging fiscal restraint. One of the first policy changes instituted by the new Republican majority was to institute a moratorium on earmarks – the tool used by Members of Congress to politically direct billions of dollars in pet projects to favored entities in their districts. Earmarks had, justifiably, earned the ire of the American people who are fed up with wasteful – and sometimes corrupt – spending in Washington and the arrogance of lawmakers behind it.
However, in a bold and secretive flaunting of the earmark moratorium, Republican leadership of the House Armed Services Committee created a slush fund during consideration the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act specifically to bypass the its own earmark moratorium.
After hundreds of hours combing through the legislation, we found that of the 225 amendments taken up and passed by the Committee during markup, an astonishing 113 – more than half the total passed – were earmarks. These 113 earmarks valued at $841 million. 34 additional amendments were found to have the appearance of being an earmark, but sufficient evidence could not be identified to make a conclusive determination.
Our analysis is based on publicly available information including the text of the amendments, the defense account receiving the increased authorization, previous earmark requests made by the offering member or a member of their delegation, and press releases issued by the member offering the amendment.
It gets better:
Twenty of these were injected by freshman Republicans, her staff found.
Great. Swept into office on what you can all but guarantee was a campaign that at some point railed against the dreaded and evil “earmarks”. And then they turn around and secretly lard up a massive Defense spending bill.
But the triple whammy about this, the part that most will miss about this is that IT DOESN’T FREAKING MATTER!!! Earmarks are simply dictates about how already-allocated money gets … allocated. It’s not extra money getting taken out of our budget. And even if it was, it’s an infinitesimal fraction of our budget: 0.45% in 2010.
To give you an idea of how unimportant earmarks are, the deficit in 2010 was 32.9% of the budget.
In other words, they are hypocrites about something that means absolutely nothing with regard to our deficit. How pathetic is that?