June 13, 2007
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Looks like a significant victory over pork, judging by this from Rep. Jeff Flake:
Republican Congressman Jeff Flake, who represents Arizona’s Sixth District, today was pleased that House Democratic Leadership has ceded to Republican complaints regarding House Appropriations Chairman David Obey’s plan to add earmarks to spending bills only after the House has passed the bills.
The agreement, as understood, calls for Democrats to move ahead this week on two spending bills not traditionally vehicles for egregious earmarks, homeland security appropriations and military construction appropriations, under earmark reform rules passed last Congress. This will allow for a point of order on earmarks that are air-dropped into conference reports.
The House Appropriations Committee will attach earmarks to the remaining appropriations bills before consideration on the House floor, which will allow Members to attempt to strike out individual earmarks.
In other words, the attempt to do this under the table has failed. The good news in this campaign is that they've become embarrassed enough about pork to try to hide it -- a huge change since fall of 2005 when PorkBusters got started -- and that they're also unable to pull off the most egregious efforts at hiding it. There's still a long way to go in achieving transparency, but this is no small thing.
UPDATE: I'm hearing that there may be some backsliding on this deal, so stay tuned.