Thursday, August 03, 2006

Jeff Flake's anti-earmark pork-fighting amendments

Congressman Jeff Flake (R-AZ District 6) proposed 19 amendments in order to force yes-or-no votes on earmarks in a bloated appropriations bills. They were all defeated by a wide margin, but the result produced a scoring of members of the House of Representatives who support earmarks and those who don't. (Each amendment proposed removing funding for a particular earmark, so a YES vote on each amendment is an anti-pork, anti-earmark vote; a NO vote is to keep the earmark.)

The specific earmarks were:

House Vote 190 - Dairy education in Iowa ($229,000)
House Vote 191 - Hydroponic tomato production in Ohio ($180,000)
House Vote 192 - National Grape and Wine Initiative ($100,000)
House Vote 204 - Virginia Science Museum ($250,000)
House Vote 205 - Juniata Locomotive Demonstration ($1,000,000)
House Vote 277 - Swimming pool in Banning, CA ($500,000)
House Vote 278 - “Facilities” in Weirton, West Virginia ($100,000)
House Vote 279 - Multipurpose facility in Yucaipa, California ($500,000)
House Vote 280 - Strand Theater Arts Center in Plattsburgh, New York ($250,000)
House Vote 298 - Mystic Aquarium in New London, Conn. ($1,000,000)
House Vote 299 - The Jason Foundation in Ashburn, VA ($1,000,000)
House Vote 302 - Northwest Manufacturing Initiative ($2,500,000)
House Vote 303 - Lewis Center for Education Research ($4,000,000)
House Vote 304 - Leonard Wood Research Institute ($20,000,000)
House Vote 334 - Arthur Avenue Retail Market ($150,000)
House Vote 335 - Bronx Council for the Arts in Bronx, N.Y. ($300,000)
House Vote 336 - Johnstown Area Regional Industries ($800,000)
House Vote 337 - Fairmont State University ($900,000)
House Vote 338 - Tourism Development Association in Kentucky ($1,000,000)

Here's how Arizona's Representatives fared:

19 out of 19 NO (anti-earmark):
Flake (R, AZ District 6)
Franks (R, AZ District 2)
Hayworth (R, AZ District 5)
Shadegg (R, AZ District 3)

0 out of 19 NO (pro-earmark):
Grijalva (D, AZ District 7)
Kolbe (R, AZ District 8)
Pastor (D, AZ District 4)
Renzi (R, AZ District 1)

I'm sorry to see that my representative, Ed Pastor, voted in full support of these earmarks, though it does seem to me that both all YES and all NO votes are suggestive of a failure to judge them on individual merit. I do find an all YES (anti-earmark) vote more principled, as the practice of inserting earmarks has been an "invitation to corruption" (as Talking Point Memo puts it).

Flake plans to continue challenging every earmark that does not include the name of a sponsor, and posts an "egregious earmark of the week" on his website under the "earmark reform" category.

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