September 29, 2005

PORK UPDATE: Looks like we’re seeing signs of awakening sense:

The Senate was up to its old tricks Monday evening. It prepared to pass, without debate and under a procedure requiring unanimous consent, a federal infusion of $9 billion into state Medicaid programs under the pretext of Katrina relief. The bill, drafted in secret under bipartisan auspices, was stopped cold when Republican Sen. John Ensign voiced his objection. . . .

Fear has enveloped Republicans who see themselves handing the banner of fiscal integrity to the Democrats. The GOP is losing the rhetoric war, even though Democrats mostly push for higher domestic spending, because Republicans, while standing firm against tax increases, have also declined to cut spending. Fearing the worst in the 2006 and 2008 elections, Republican senators who would not be expected to do so are looking to McCain to lead the party back to fiscal responsibility. . . .

President Bush’s opposition to the Grassley-Baucus bill was meaningless. Bush could not kill the bill by objecting, but any senator could, and Ensign did. Ensign noted that Congress had appropriated an extra $62 billion in the wake of Katrina.

Read the whole thing.