As has already been widely reported, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey and Speaker Pelosi have added $21.3 billion to the cost of the bill as requested by President Bush (a total of $103.0 billion was requested).
I was alerted by a former colleague from the Senate staff that page 238 of the committee report also contains the following statement:
EARMARKS: Pursuant to clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, this bill, as reported, contains no congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in clause 9(d), 9(e), or 9(f) of rule XXI.
Wow! $21.3 billion in add-ons and not a single earmark! Now, thats reform! Right?
Not exactly, check out page 291 for the $25 million added for spinach producers. And, page 216 for $60 million for salmon fisheries. And, page 214 for $5 million for aquaculture. Other tables in the report appear to contain many more.
Not earmarks? You could have fooled me. Having worked the congressional pork system for most of the 31 years I was on Capitol Hill, they sure smell, wallow and oink like earmarks to me. The advocates will argue these are all desperately needed due to various crises. Perhaps, but that doesnt mean they are not earmarks. In fact, there are emergency earmarks as they have the emergency designation.
(Gouge: WW, Secrecy News)