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Tea Party-backed GOP freshmen pack defense bill with pork

By DOUG THOMPSON
May 23, 2011

Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss. -- Just another political hypocrite (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Remember all those grand promises by the tea party-backed Republicans who promised to put an end to wasteful spending and pork-barrel earmarks?

Just more hypocritical political posturing.

While talking the big plan to be fiscally responsible the Republican freshmen have packed a huge $553 billion spending bill with millions of pet defense projects for their home districts.

Yep. Pork barrel is still alive in the halls of Congress and the pigs at the trough are the ones voters sent to Washington to end the wasteful practice.

Of course, Republicans claim the money for the projects aren’t pork. Of course not. Pork is when the money is spent by the other guys in someone else’s district. If it’s in your own district it’s necessary.

None of the projects were included in the defense budget submitted to Congress by the Obama administration.

For example, freshman GOP Rep. Bobby Shilling put in $2.5 million for weapons and munitions advanced technology for the Quad City Manufacturing Lab at Rock Island Arsenal, which just happens to be in his district.

During his campaign against Democrat Phil Hare last year, Schilling criticized Hare for adding money to defense budgets for the same facility.

GOP frosh Vicky Hartzler of Missouri packed the bill with $20 million for “mixed conventional load capability for Air Force bombers,” for Whiteman Air Force Base in her district.

Hartlzler backed the GOP moratorium on earmarks during her campaign. Now she says she didn’t think the moratorium applied to defense spending.

Republican Steven Palazzo used anti-pork barrel spending rhetoric and tea party backing to beat Democratic conservative Gene Taylor in Mississippi.  He added $10 million to buy land to expand a National Guard facility in his district and another $19.9 million to “ship preliminary design and feasibility studies” at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula — also part of his district.

Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, says his group will be studying the bill to uncover all the examples of pork.  The millions could add up to billions.

As the late Sen. Everett McKinley Dirksen used to say: “A billion here; a billion there. Pretty soon, we’re talking about real money.”

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10 Responses to Tea Party-backed GOP freshmen pack defense bill with pork

  1. Observer

    May 23, 2011 at 11:43 am

    I remember Sen. Everett Dirksen and his famous quote from a half century ago. He was voicing Republican opposition to expansion of government spending. However, he never won that battle. Government spending is popular, all across the political spectrum. (There are of course disagreements about who gets funded and who doesn’t). That part hasn’t changed.

    What has changed is the alleged devotion to balanced budgets. Republicans used to proclaim their opposition to deficit spending, but since the Reagan era, Republicans in power have acted as if deficits don’t matter. They LOVE tax cuts, especially for rich people, big corporations, and their campaign contributors (but I repeat myself).

  2. Keith

    May 23, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Why is anyone surprised at this?

  3. woody188

    May 23, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    You mean the tea party got used to elect more Neo-cons?

  4. Lillibet

    May 23, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    I am shocked. Absolutely shocked. You’d think they’d have a hard time explaining this, after all those proclamations of being principled people of their word, campaigning against all that “other side of the aisle” pork, excessive spending, uncontrolled governmental growth and all. I mean, didn’t they promise not to pack on the pork? Weren’t they the campaigners assuring the public that they were different, that they were the real conservatives and that controlling spending was Job One?

    Is there a special exception for GOP pork packers to allow these freshmen to then go around the country proclaiming that they are not the party of the spend-spend two-step?

    How can they complain about spend, spend, spend when they are shoveling money into the trough for their porcine compadres, slurping up every available penny at taxpayer’s expense?

    To quote Gilda Radner, “never mind.”

    If that doesn’t work for you, how about, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

  5. Almandine

    May 23, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Got references Doug?

  6. Almandine

    May 23, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    What a joke…

  7. Almandine

    May 24, 2011 at 7:42 am

    “We use news from established sources. We pay fees for much of that content. When we use excerpts from other web sites, we cite the source and link to the full story on that site.” … Doug Thompson, Jan 1, 2011

    So when I asked for references – sources – so I could get the full story myself, m,y comment needed taking down?

    Wassup with that?

    • Doug Thompson

      May 25, 2011 at 10:02 am

      Don’t know what you’re smoking but maybe you should refrain. Four references were cited at the end of the article and your comment was not taken down.

  8. bogofree

    May 25, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Welcome to Washington and business as usual.

  9. mjoppa

    May 27, 2011 at 1:24 am

    I don’t understand the joy that people like you get when other people are pissing on you. They are spending your money also, there is a difference between you and the people that elected what turned out to be a group of liers. The people that have lied to get into office will not be re-elected If they are it will be at far greater expense than the Cowards called the Republican party wish to spend. People like you should stop dennagrading the tea party and start cheering for them. The teaparty hates republicans as much as the hate liberals. If they make the cowards fight for every seat that opens the doors for the Libs to steal seats the cowards thought they had in the bag. So start cheering for your tea party brothers and sisters in the long run they will only help you….MJ