Monday, October 20, 2008

Kline's Secretive Partisan Do Nothing-ish

John Kline's recent ad about being against earmarks (which make up less than half a percent of the federal budget) and his attempt to focus on it during debates shows his lack of concern for voters. While CD2 cities burns...Kline fiddles...His extremist stance doesn't change one iota anything or save one dime. What it does is exclude Minnesotans and CD2 voters from needed funding for projects.

John prefer to champion earmarks instead of address all the issues that now face us -from housing, economy, health care to education and gas prices that do significantly make up the federal budget. It grand stand on empty issues that don't improve our status or save money but does distract from the real issues.

Only since the Democrats took control of the House has Kline been against earmarks. Prior to that, Kline was all for them including Alaska's bridge to nowhere. Under scrutiny it appears that Kline's stance on earmark is a way to vote against bills that would otherwise help our communities.

There's no better indication of this obstructionist stance than Kline's vote regarding earmark reform legislation in January of 2007 (when the Democrats took control). In the 2007 the Democratic 'earmark' reform bill would require any bill with earmarks contain the name of a legislator who introduced the inserted earmark, tax or tariff benefit be included in a report attached to that bill. Instead of voting for reform, Kline voted against the House Resolution 6 on January 5, 2007 .

To date the earmark process has been an efficient way for congress to fund small projects around the country that would not warrant the costly and lengthy process of separate bills. When done openly, the process allows for scrutiny of the merits of these projects and puts the proposing legislator in the position of defending their request as well as recording it for the public.

Total congressional earmarks for fiscal year 2008 were worth $18.3 billion. The Department of Defense appropriations bill gobbled up $7.9 billion of that $18 billion. So, 43% of earmark money—almost half—goes to military “uses” that our military never sought in their own proposed budget! Maybe “earmarks’ for parks, bridges, children’s hospitals, and, yes, children’s museums—analyzed by local leaders—are not a scandal, but a positive function of government.

Which leads us to these conclusions:

  1. Kline favors earmarks but only if done secretly, without names attached so the public can't truely monitor the process excessives as it was during the GOP lead House...or,
  2. Kline much like throwing himself under the wheels of partisanship to obstruct funding of such projects like the I35 bridge, wants to blocking all Democratic Legislation regardless who it may help or what it will fund but not saving a single dime of earmarks overall (it will just go to another Congressional district!).
  3. Kline just needed to have something other than his dismal record to discuss during election time and debates
Secretiveness, do nothing and partisan blockage... traits or next CD2 Congressman has promised not to do.

1 comment:

Minnesota Central said...

Question : Do you support donating $14 million dollars for the Iraq Cultural Heritage Project (ICHP) to preserve the archaeological and cultural treasures of Iraq ? Does Kline ? Well, guess what is already been authorized.

Kline has a commercial running complaining about the Montana Sheep Institute. When did he start complaining about it ? Didn't he vote for it in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 or 2007 ? What's it value ($148,950 in 2008 and a grand total of $2.8 million since 2002 ... obviously the amount has been constantly being cut) ? Another project that he mentions is $ 742,764 for olive fruit fly research and $100,000 for lighting in the LA Fashion District.

OK, Tally it all up (even over time) and it's peanuts compared to how much the Bush Administration just authorized this month for ICHP ? Why doesn't Kline go after ICHP ?

The "earmark" argument only works if you look at what Kline wants you to see. In reality, there will be a major change in "earmarks" next session. Obviously, Ted Stevens should not be in charge of the Appropriations Committee .. plus if you look at the House retirees like Ray LaHood (R-IL), Jerry Lewis (R-CA), etc who are big earmarkers plus the potential losses in elections (Don Young R-AK for example) should mean changes. IF Kline was serious about exposing earmarks, why doesn't he curtail Norm Coleman who is the leader in Minnesota's delegation ?

Obama has said he will look at all programs ... and he will be forced to with the budget deficit that Bush has left him. There is an incentive for Obama and the Democrats to weed out wasteful government spending.

Kline has nothing to show for his time in the House, so this is his charade to get reelected.

Read my blog where I highlighted a variety of projects ranging from comic books to airplanes that just don't make sense ... and Kline should have done something about it, but it's so much easier to focus on fruit flies.