Some things never “change,” since President Obama took office we have only gotten more of the old way of doing things in Washington. There is no “change” coming from the man who, on the campaign trail, was all about the new and “transparent” way of lawmaking he was going to demand once elected to our nation’s highest office. Today, earmarks are still the bread and butter for Congressmen (and women), Republican and Democrat, who use the little add-ons to pay back their campaign contributors and keep the home town voter-machine well oiled. Adding an earmark to a larger bill that no one could possibly vote against has long been the way our lawmakers have procured funding for all sorts of things that, if they had to pass a vote on their own merit, would otherwise fail — hands down. In other words, earmarks are used to fund something that other congressional leaders would never accept and the public would be outraged over.
Earmarks may only make up about 14 percent of our national discretionary spending, but with huge portions of our nation unemployed and 401K’s being sucked dry by a plummeting economy $3 Billion here and $4 Billion there adds up fast. The practice of slipping inappropriate funding into bills so they escape the notice of most citizens of the United States is, to be kind, dishonest and despicable. In the FY10 Omnibus spending bill signed by Mr. “no-earmark” Obama this past December earmarks accounted for $3.9 BILLION. The $3.9 BILLION is only the earmarks disclosed by Congress when they passed the bill. Not all these little pieces of “pork” are disclosed, some are laying in the shadows in the text of the bill. The earmarks that do get disclosed often times do not disclose who placed the fat little pork chop on the plate.
The omnibus spending bill for FY10 had enough earmark money to make the average citizen outraged, but, in the separate Defense Appropriations bill for FY10 totaling $636 BILLION was loaded with $4.2 BILLION in earmarks. The following is a list of disclosed earmarks included in the defense appropriations bill:
$800,000 prostate cancer research for minorities
$1.6 million for computerization of hospital records in Oakland, CA
$2.4 million handicap access and a fire sprinkler system at a community club in New York
$3.6 million to eradicate marijuana in Kentucky
$3.9 million energy-efficient solar film for buildings development grant
$5 million San Francisco visitors center
$18 million Edward Kennedy Policy Institute in Massachusetts
$20 million World War II Museum in Louisiana
$23 million indigent health care for Hawaii
$47 million anti-drug training centers throughout the U.S.
These projects have nothing to do with prosecuting two wars or maintaining the readiness of our troops. Not listed above are further additions to the bill for defense spending that the DOD did not ask for and does not want. Lawmakers added $5 BILLION for two destroyers, 10 C-17 cargo planes, and money towards development of a new jet engine that the Pentagon neither wants nor needs.
As far back as October, 2009, government agencies were warning that these earmarks were going to take funds from our troops, reducing the amount of fuel they would have to move around safely and other mission critical items. Those armored vehicles use a lot of fuel, I would hate to begin hearing that our troops are not advancing because they don’t have enough gasoline or diesel to get them to the battle field and back. Our men and women in uniform deserve better. Our nation deserves better. While our president mouths how much he is supporting our troops his actions speak much louder to anyone listening. Obama has been running around the globe coddling Islamic heads of State as if they were to be revered, giving speeches of appeasement to “the Muslim world” (the very ones we are at war with) and now cutting our troops funding off at the ankle, not my idea of meaningful “support.”
As President Obama has stated, the ultimate responsibility for what takes place in our government lies with him, he does have the ability to veto these bills. While Obama can veto a bill it would require some degree of interest on his part to do so. Our President promised a group of Veterans of Foreign Wars in Phoenix that “if Congress sends me a defense bill loaded with that kind of pork, I will veto it.” The veto was forgotten as Obama picked up his pen and signed the bill this past December.
The President has made many promises to cut the pork out of the diet of Congress; to date, he has failed to honor any of these commitments. Not surprising when you consider a comment made by Mr. Obama’s campaign manager during a television interview a month after the inauguration. The interviewer was asking how he justified the numerous campaign promises that had already been broken after only thirty days, when asked if Obama lied during the campaign the answer given was astonishingly honest; he said it was a political campaign and people do not really expect you to tell the truth. Stop! Let that one sink in before continuing.
Oh, and that promise to list online all bills and any earmarks included for the Nation to review before any bill is signed by our president and made law — another campaign lie, and only to have been expected — right?
Our lawmakers are equally to blame for the pork earmarks, this is one area where there is full bipartisan cooperation. Both sides of the aisle are guilty of stuffing these large appropriation bills with pet-project funding. Congress knows all to well that if you want a project funded that would otherwise be impossible to get votes for you include it in a defense appropriations bill, nobody would dare vote down money to keep our troops funded.
It is time for “We the People’ to make a stand and demand that earmarks stop completely. If a bill cannot get support for a “light of day” vote, it should never be proposed. All funding bills should be voted on individually, on their own merit, or not at all. Like addicts addicted to illicit substances our political leaders are not going to stop themselves from using earmarks, it will take intervention from others — We the People.
This November we have an opportunity to put an end to this wild spending in Washington. It is time to begin the Earmark addict’s intervention program. Our country needs honest and reputable citizens, not career politicians, to run for and take office. America was once lead by true patriots who bled and died to give birth to our republic. Once again we need to find the patriots among us to rise up and save our country from the tyrannical form of socialism that is creeping into our system. These should also be people who know what it is like to run a business with limited funding and a balanced budget.
Consider the length of the Constitution of the United States, only four pages — including signatures. Nowadays Congress does not seem to be able to pass a bill with less than 1,000 pages and there is never enough time allotted for all the lawmakers to read them. This has to change as well. We need to get back to down to earth with how we run our country.
American patriots must demand that this president prove his qualifications for holding our most revered office by first providing for public scrutiny a valid and verifiable birth certificate. If he is able to prove his right to citizenship and his natural-born status then we need to demand he honor all his campaign promises to total transparency. All Congressional bills should be posted for several days online for everyone to read before they are signed into law. Earmarks should be vanquished from our land, completely.