In January, Nancy Pelosi called for Bush to accept a more fiscally responsible budget. She and her fellow leaders in the Democrat Party wrote to Bush “urging him to change course from his reckless fiscal policies of the past and adopt new fiscally responsible policies in his fiscal year 2008 Budget.”
When she first became Speaker of the House, Pelosi claimed she would lead the “most honest, ethical, and open Congress in history” and claimed that she would lead “With integrity, civility, and fiscal responsibility”.
That was then… this is now.
Now that the Democrat Party is the majority in Congress you’d think that, in light of their constant 2006 midterm calls for “fiscal responsibility”, that we’d see a new era of budgetary scrutiny.
You’d be wrong.
Not only has Pelosi stuffed the recent military budget to fund the troops in Iraq with $20 billion in pork projects like peanut storage and fisheries, but now the nonpartisan agency that used to track wasteful spending is mysteriously being shut down. A move that will make it much easier for Democrats to hide pork spending.
The Congressional Research Service, a non-partisan office of the Library of Congress, has decided to cease compiling the earmark spending reports that they had been charged to provide members of Congress causing some to wonder if the Democrat Party had any hand in the decision.
“To me, something doesn’t smell right,” said Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican. “I just hope no one is pressuring” the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
While not blaming the Democratic leadership, Mr. DeMint added: “I guess if you’re looking for a motive, you’d have to look in that direction.”
Yeah…in “that direction”, for sure.
Several lawmakers, particularly those who had come to rely on the agency to identify the dollar value of earmarks in appropriations and other laws, were caught off guard by the change.
“It’s troubling — I can’t think of any justification for that,” said Rep. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican. “They’ve done good research in the past. … That’s what they’re here for — the benefit of the members” of Congress.
So, why are they doing it? What is this “internal decision”?
The director of the CRS claims that this is an “internal decision” and that they are not being pushed to this by anyone outside the agency.
CRS said the Office of Management and Budget recently has been taking on a greater role in monitoring earmarks. And with both chambers of Congress this year establishing new guidelines and clearer definitions of earmarks, the agency said its role as a scorekeeper of earmarks is obsolete.
Almost seems reasonable until you realize that we are placing those DOING the spending in charge of rooting out the pork! The wolf, as they say, is guarding the hen house.
So, we have lost a non-partisan means of tracking porkbarrel spending.
So much for Nacy Pelosi and the Democrat Party’s claims to want “fiscal responsibility” and an ethical, open Congress.