Thursday, June 14, 2007

From Pelosi's "Ethical Congress"

If Pelosi's "ethical congress" and Giffords' "it's time for a change" commitments mean this, perhaps we can understand the 23% and 27% approval ratings they're getting in D.C.

John Boehner—“The earmark process outlined yesterday by Mr. Obey is a sham. Democrats are keeping earmark requests secret until after the House has considered appropriations spending bills, preventing us from debating earmarks on the House floor and subjecting them to scrutiny. They want the House to approve massive slush funds for secret earmarks — billions of dollars for whatever Rep. Obey and his colleagues to spend as they see fit.”

John Shadegg—"Earmarks in this body must now be disclosed because the Speaker said she would disclose them. That's all we are asking for. We are asking that they be disclosed so the American people can see them, so that our constituents can see them, and so on this floor we can debate them and discuss them. The good ones will pass, and the ones that are corrupt or inappropriate will fail."

William Jefferson has earned himself a95-page detail of indictments including 16 counts of fraud, bribery, public corruption, money laundering and racketeering.

And, some congressmen feel some crimes should pay...
John Shadegg—"Once again the House has failed to close the loophole that allows a Member of Congress to collect his pension even if he is convicted of a felony. Given the recent ethics scandals in Congress this is an outrage.

"My effort to strengthen this bill by prohibiting a corrupt Member from collecting his pension was not allowed. The American people deserve to know that Members of Congress, like Duke Cunningham, who abuse the public trust will still be able to collect their pensions even if this bill becomes law."

And the hypocrisy goes on...


Liza said...

The Democrats deserve their low ratings. So does Bush.

Sirocco said...

Not gonna defend Jefferson, he needs to go. For some inexplicable reason, however, his district re-elected him. Sigh.

As to earmarks, though, here's some info you don't mention:

1) At the start of the new session, Congress passed the toughest anti-earmark guidelines ever.

2) In the nine(I think) spending bills completed in January, not a single earmark was placed on them.

3) Because the prior Congress _intentionally_ refused to pass needed budget bills, the process of reviewing earmarks on the next one was significantly delayed. Since matters for the fiscal year were already well behind, the decision was made to let things advance at this point without listing all the earmarks.

That doesn't mean they won't be listed. They will be made available well in advance of conference committees convening. Any ridiculous earmark can at that time be addressed in the motion to instruct conferees. Any member of the committee can force debate and can make a move to strike any earmark (something provided for in the new rules from last Jan.)

The upshot -- the choice was to go forward without having the earmark lists available prior to floor consideration BUT still having them available for committees OR delaying the full budget consideration for some months. This choice was forced as a DIRECT result of the irresponsibility of the last (Republican led) Congress in deliberately refusing to pass necessary budget items.

AZAce said...

The concern about delays is a cop out. Republicans even asked to put the earmark lists on the internet, but the Democrats refused. This is clearly an attempt to hide earmarks, however it is couched.

Sirocco said...

Nope ... the earmarks are going to be made available to all, and are going to have a chance for debate and striking in the committees, which is a hell of a lot more than the Republican-controlled Congress did.

Having said that, if the earmarks aren't made available prior to floor debate _next_ year, then there are no excuses.