Congressional Republicans — supposedly representing the party of less, leaner government — are stuffing the latest spending deal with right-wing leaning “policy riders” and earmarks to gain conservative support going into the 2012 elections.
The volume of these riders stuns even the most jaded Congressional cynics as Republican lawmakers stack the bill with legislative initiatives targeted to benefit high-dollar GOP donors.
For example, Kentucky GOP Senator Mitch McConnell and House Appropriations Committee chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) have packed in several riders to benefit the coal industry. McConnell, Rogers and House Speaker John Boehner have received more than $1.1 million in campaign donations from the coal industry.
Republicans have also floated riders to weaken environmental reviews of Shell Oil’s Gulf of Mexico drilling plans and — not coincidentally — Shell has contributed heavily to those Congressional Republicans.
Other GOP-sponsored riders seek to cut funding needed to implement Wall Street reforms. Boehner, who received more than $200,000 from Wall Street executives, backs these efforts.
“The strategy is simple,” a GOP house aide tells Capitol Hill Blue. “We deliver for those who contribute.”
The riders are a key part of Congressional efforts to fashion a $1 trillion spending bill to meet the requirements of the August budget accords.