Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pork vs. Kids? Pork wins in Senate

A great story from the Washington Post's Dana Milbank:
The United States Senate yesterday was confronted with a stark choice: health care for children, or pet projects for lawmakers' home states.

The final tally?

Pet Projects 68, Kids 26.

...It was, Coburn's many opponents grumbled, a political stunt. But, as stunts go, this one was particularly revealing. The Oklahoma physician, a foe of the unhealthy cut of congressional pork known as "earmarks," proposed an amendment to a major health spending bill that said no lawmakers' pet projects would be funded until "all children in the U.S. under the age of 18 years are insured by a private or public health insurance plan."

I think most of us agree that health insurance for children, whether provided publicly or privately, should be a higher priority than legislative pork. This is why this vote is "particularly revealing".

Here is how the votes went (a "yea" vote was to table this amendment, a "nay" vote was to add the amendment to the "2008 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act"):

Akaka (D-HI), Yea
Alexander (R-TN), Yea
Allard (R-CO), Nay
Barrasso (R-WY), Nay
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Bayh (D-IN), Yea
Bennett (R-UT), Yea
Biden (D-DE), Not Voting
Bingaman (D-NM), Yea
Bond (R-MO), Yea
Boxer (D-CA), Yea
Brown (D-OH), Yea
Brownback (R-KS), Nay
Bunning (R-KY), Nay
Burr (R-NC), Nay
Byrd (D-WV), Yea
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Nay
Clinton (D-NY), Not Voting
Coburn (R-OK), Nay
Cochran (R-MS), Yea
Coleman (R-MN), Yea
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Nay
Cornyn (R-TX), Nay
Craig (R-ID), Yea
Crapo (R-ID), Nay
DeMint (R-SC), Nay
Dodd (D-CT), Not Voting
Dole (R-NC), Nay
Domenici (R-NM), Yea
Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Ensign (R-NV), Nay
Enzi (R-WY), Nay
Feingold (D-WI), Nay
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Nay
Grassley (R-IA), Yea
Gregg (R-NH), Yea
Hagel (R-NE), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Hatch (R-UT), Yea
Hutchison (R-TX), Yea
Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Kennedy (D-MA), Not Voting
Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Nay
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
Levin (D-MI), Yea
Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Lott (R-MS), Nay
Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Martinez (R-FL), Nay
McCain (R-AZ), Not Voting
McCaskill (D-MO), Nay
McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Murray (D-WA), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Obama (D-IL), Not Voting
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Yea
Reid (D-NV), Yea
Roberts (R-KS), Yea
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Sanders (I-VT), Yea
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Sessions (R-AL), Nay
Shelby (R-AL), Yea
Smith (R-OR), Yea
Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Specter (R-PA), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Stevens (R-AK), Yea
Sununu (R-NH), Yea
Tester (D-MT), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Nay
Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Voinovich (R-OH), Yea
Warner (R-VA), Yea
Webb (D-VA), Yea
Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wyden (D-OR), Yea

Clearly, anyone who voted "yea" on this should be held up for public scorn, but what about the "not voting" senators? Most of them are presidential candidates. Did they skip the vote for campaign reasons, or to NOT provide their opponents with political ammunition?


Rodak said...

Those who should be held up for scorn are those who would kill all discretionary spending, across the board, for an indefinite, but surely long, period of time.
Senators are elected at the state level, and it is their job to bring home federal money ("pork") that will help to create jobs and generate tax revenues for their home states. Why would any responsible senator vote for a bill that would effectively prevent him from doing his job?
Even the much-riduculed Woodstock Museum would be a good thing for job seekers in upstate New York. Nothing gets reported on in Cleveland without pictures being shown of the Rock and Roll Museum. New York wants some of that same tourist-attracting action from the Boomer generation.

William R. Barker said...

Couldn't help but notice the following:

Biden (D-DE), Not Voting
Clinton (D-NY), Not Voting
Dodd (D-CT), Not Voting
McCain (R-AZ), Not Voting
Obama (D-IL), Not Voting

These individuals are BEING PAID to FULFILL THEIR OATHS as Members of the United States Senate. The problem is... we ALL KNOW that their present "work" priority is not the job they were "hired" to perform, but rather the selfish pursuit of higher office.

(And no doubt the voting records of the House Members presently running show similar "Not Voting" tallies across Party id.

I say "enough!" Either by statute or if necessary Constitutional Amendment, I believe it's time to force *SERVING* members of the House and Senate to give up their offices should they choose to run for higher office.

Yes... I suppose you could say "but, Bill, what about re-election campaigns... they shift the "work" focus of these officials too." Yeah. No doubt. But you have to draw a line somewhere and I think it would be good for the country if politicians were forced to CHOOSE as their job *EITHER* the job they first ran for and were elected to *OR* the job of candidate for higher office.

By the same token, I'd like to see the system reformed so that you can't run for two different offices at the same time. (Practically speaking, the above reforms already suggested would deal with a large part of this related problem.)

As to the proposed legislation... not ALL pork is bad and not ALL earmarks are wasteful. Hell... there's even an argument to be made that the Congressman knows what his district needs and the Senator knows what her state needs far better than his or her peer who DON'T reside in the district/state.

And YEAH... what Rob is talking about as "their jobs" is indeed a viable theory of what these jobs indeed are - THOUGH... I myself disagree that this is what these jobs SHOULD be.