House Republicans Aren't Serious About Earmark Reform

Steering Committee Puts Rep. Jo Bonner on Appropriations

By Bluey Posted in | | | | Comments (21) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

Just when it appeared House Republicans had turned the corner on earmark reform, party leaders did the unthinkable. They picked Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) for the vacant seat on the Appropriations Committee, bypassing conservative Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and the opportunity to show they were committed to real reform.

Bonner may talk a good game when it comes to earmark reform. However, his record is abysmal. The three-term Republican scored just 2% on the Club for Growth's 2007 RePORK Card, meaning he voted for just one of the 50 anti-pork amendments offered by conservatives. Andy Roth notes that's the same score as liberal Reps. Steny Hoyer, Bill Jefferson and James Moran. Flake, on the other hand, not only supported all 50, but he introduced many himself.

The National Taxpayers Union scorecard paints an even worse picture. While Flake was earning A's consistently, Bonner was receiving B's and C's. Flake scored 92% in 2006, whereas Bonner had a pathetic 55% on NTU's scorecard for all tax, spending, trade and regulatory votes.

Americans for Prosperity president Tim Phillips called it "a huge missed opportunity for true earmark reform and for the Republican Party."

Of course, Bonner's record didn't stop Minority Leader John Boehner from trying to spin this as a victory for earmark reformers.

Jo Bonner was chosen because he symbolizes the changing perspective in the House Republican ranks on the role of earmarks, and the emerging consensus among Republicans on the need to fundamentally change Washington’s broken spending process.

Boehner should be smarter than to feed us this line of bull. Even though Flake demonstrated his commitment to reform by taking tough votes year after year, the House Republican Steering Committee decided Bonner's convenient change in rhetoric was enough to pacify taxpayers.

We cannot let the Steering Committee get away with this sham. Below is a list of the Steering Committee. Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and make your voice heard.

Continued on the jump...

Rep. John A. Boehner (R OH–8), Minority Leader
Rep. Roy D. Blunt (R MO–7), Minority Whip
Rep. Eric Cantor (R VA–7), Chief Deputy Minority Whip
Rep. Adam H. Putnam (R FL–12), Republican Conference Chair
Rep. Kay Granger (R TX–12), Republican Conference Vice Chair
Rep. John R. Carter (R TX–31), Republican Conference Secretary
Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R MI–11), Republican Policy Committee Chair
Rep. Tom Cole (R OK–4), National Republican Congressional Committee Chair

Committee Ranking Members
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R CA–41), Committee on Appropriations
Rep. Joe Barton (R TX–6), Committee on Energy and Commerce
Rep. David Dreier (R CA–26), Committee on Rules
Rep. Jim McCrery (R LA–4), Committee on Ways and Means

Regional Members
Rep. Ken Calvert (R CA–44), California Representative
Rep. C. W. Bill Young (R FL–10), Florida Representative
Rep. Lamar Smith (R TX–21), Texas Representative
Rep. Doc Hastings (R WA–4), Region I Representative
Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R CO–4), Region II Representative
Rep. Tom Latham (R IA–4), Region III Representative
Rep. Dave Camp (R MI–4), Region IV Representative
Rep. John M. McHugh (R NY–23), Region V Representative
Vacant, Region VI Representative
Rep. Ralph Regula (R OH–16), Region VII Representative
Rep. Hal Rogers (R KY–5), Region VIII Representative
Rep. Spencer Bachus (R AL–6), Region IX Representative

Small State Representative
Rep. Don Young (R AK–At Large)

Class Representatives
Rep. John R. Carter (R TX–31), 108th Class:
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R WA–5), 109th Class
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R CA–22), 110th Class

« Rep. Capuano's Newspeak for CensorshipComments (5) | Forcing the Issue on FISA: The Next RoundComments (1) »
House Republicans Aren't Serious About Earmark Reform 21 Comments (0 topical, 21 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

They are on their way to the dustbin of history. Seems like they want to be the minority party for the next 50 years. It is just so sad and disgusting.

It just reminds me have much in common with those other Reds. The ones who preached after they came to power government would wither away to a minimum amount.

Their faithful believed it, we believe it. There are days that I am certain the only way it will happen is if Jefferson gets his vision of government reform in a republic.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

Red is also the color of deficits resulting from over spending.

Commies don't own a patent on using the color Red. I suppose that the media could have used blue and white for party identification but they usually use white for the text in a chart. Red is just as valid and not a negative thing, in my opinion.

which really says it all about how and why the media branded the Republican states the red states. The them, the blues were, as in wargaming, the friendlies, and the reds the bad guys.

In Vino Veritas

if there is one, is that Tom Cole didn't get the nod.

they think is crucial to national security lapse!

They'd rather allow it lapse tomorrow than allow it to be extended without a rider that immunizes telecom. firms from the consequences of their own prior illegal activity:

It's like Republicans exist to serve the interests of large business firms and not Americans and their national security.

You are kidding aren't you ?

If that rider doesn't pass the telecom companies are going to forget how their phone systems work. The government is going to have tap calls without them and that isn't going to work at all.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

Where's you faith in those firms that didn't participate and will reap in the rewards of a system of competitive enterprise?

Anyway, in police states, the government expects business' to cooperate and it does.

In "democratic" states, the government should have no more expectation than companies will follow the law.

So, the law was violated by telecoms (Qwest - actually paid attention to the law and rejected the Admins. mandate) and now they're looking to be protected from their own law-breaking??

Therefore, there is only one incentive that we should care about: that the incentive to obey the law remains in place.

Telecoms shouldn't need immunity if they hadn't violated the law.

If we can't trust them, it's unwarranted to forgive them.

He's starting to stink up the joint.

Do you remember old movies where the cops had to keep someone on the line so they could get the number called from ?

The phone company simply did not want to reveal that for accounting and bill disputes it knew every call made, from where to where, when how long and if it was answered or not.

I have no wish to seem my countrymen dead. You apparently are rooting for it to happen.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

The Administration could have sought and easily and quickly obtained court-orders to require— and protect —specific surveillance and information-providing actions by the telecoms.

Actually, telecom immunity is not as important as some of the expanded, largely unmonitored surveillance powers granted to the executive branch in the Protect America Act. It's here that the accented concerns should be investigated.

But perceptive concerns have no bearing many times.

Like most of the people that scream that the government is encroaching their rights. No one has the time energy or desire to invade their sanctums of ultimate boredom. Your fortress of banality shall remain secure in its arctic wasteland of soul crushing ordinariness. No amount of screaming that you are being oppressed will elevate you to significance.

You would do much better arguing that the people trying to sell you a new cellphone that you don't need or soap which is probably desperately needed know too much about you.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

surveillance without the knowledge of Congress 1st.

I have been behaving. Appears to me like just because someone doesn't like what i say, I'm 'stinking up the place'-- even when I have a discursive partner.

Look at who makes up the Steering Committee. I mean the membership is like a who's who of porkers. Young, Lewis, Blunt?

Look at the rePork card. There are 26 people on that list (John Carter of Texas is there twice). Of that only 6 of them scored 50% or better. Musgrave at 94%, Cantor 82%, Kevin McCarthy 66%, Barton 64%, Boehner 60%, Putnam 54%.

Meanwhile 4 of them scored a ZERO (H. Rogers, Calvert, Lewis, & Regula). Another 3 scored 2% (McCreary, McCotter & McHugh); Latham comes in at 4%; C.W. Young, D. Young, & McMorris-Rodgers scored 6%, Bachus a 7%, Cole an 8%. That's a total of 13 who scored under 10%.

So you have 6 people who could be called "good" on the issue. And 13 who are dismal. With 7 who are in between, though more "bad" than "good" (Smith - 16%, Granger - 21%, Blunt and Hastings - 22%, Drier - 34%, Carter - 38%, Camp - 44%).

Why is it surprising that a committee full of people who are actively seeking to destroy the Republican brand for fiscal responsibility would choose one of their own to sit on Appropriations?

The problem is that the leadership has not been purged in its entirety. I am glad to see that the high-ranking leadership is mostly on board (of the 6 "above average" folks, 3 are the number 1, 3 and 4 spots in the caucus), but the general people in charge are not with us on this issue. And they will not be with us until we start focusing on these "lower levels" - like putting pressure on representatives from the regions to pick conservatives as regional representatives and class representatives so that the Steering Committee reflects our values.

GOP's Earmarks Crusade Has its Limits

Anti-earmark crusader Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) lost his bid for a seat on the House Appropriations Committee Thursday, and the conservative blogosphere is not happy about it.

This Red State post was typical of the reaction. Under the heading, "House Republicans Aren't Serious About Earmark Reform," blogger Bluey wrote, "Just when it appeared House Republicans had turned the corner on earmark reform, party leaders did the unthinkable."

The seat instead went to Alabama Rep. Jo Bonner (R), a former Appropriations staffer who beat a field that included Flake, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) and a host of other aspirants that included one genuinely vulnerable GOP member, Rep. Dave Reichert (Wash.).

"We cannot let the Steering Committee get away with this sham," Bluey writes, counseling readers to call members of the panel that made the Appropriations pick to express their unhappiness.

Capitol Briefing explained last month why he believed Flake had little chance to win the seat, despite a concerted online lobbying effort for him. Flake is disliked by many members of the GOP Conference who, regardless of whether they agree with him on earmarks, believe the Arizonan is too interested in getting press attention by criticizing his own party.

But Flake's loss doesn't mean House Republicans are ignorant of the importance to their base of the earmarks issue. Before he won the seat, Bonner -- never known before as a reformer -- had to assure leaders he would say the right things on the issue.

And when he got the slot, Bonner said, "The current earmark process has become a symbol of a broken Washington. I sought this seat on the Appropriations Committee because I believe the time for change and reform -- especially of the appropriations process and the much scrutinized subject of earmarks -- is now."

The blogs aren't buying it. Club for Growth blogger Andrew Roth complains that Bonner did poorly on the group's "RePORK Card," scoring about as well as some liberal Democrats.

Republican leaders know that Flake is a cause célèbre in the blogosphere. They knew passing him over would prompt a backlash. But while they want to keep hammering away on the earmarks issue, they simply were not going to reward Flake for what they perceive to be insufficient loyalty to the team.

House Republicans' unwillingness to commit to a party-wide moratorium on earmarks demonstrated that their crusade does have its limits, and yesterday's move reaffirmed that fact.

By Ben Pershing | February 15, 2008; 10:55 AM ET

Please tell me why? I'm already registered at Bill Quick's American Conservative Party site and am really fighting the urge to bolt the Republicans, as well as the urge to chew off my hand rather than vote for McC come November. I truly understand the stakes. There is NO WAY I will EVER vote for Hillama.

But what on earth is wrong with our party?

OK, these are rhetorical questions that won't get any answers I'm satisfied with. Just had to ask. I want them (and they know who "them" is!) to know how really ripped some of us are. Just finding it hard to believe they give a. That is the real problem.

You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.

What a sham! No wonder we're bleeding conservative-leaning independants and can't raise money. Most (not all) of these guys in Congress are hypocrites.

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