August 22, 2006

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: The Washington Examiner weighs in on the Senate's secret hold on earmark reform legislation:

A Senate staffer — who shall remain nameless here — must have awakened on the wrong side of the bed Monday morning. Said staffer exploded in response to a constituent’s question whether the staffer’s boss was the senator who placed an anonymous hold on S. 2590, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. . . .

Odds are slim that the real senator or senators behind the anonymous hold will ever come forward voluntarily, even though for years it has been customary in these arcane matters beyond the Senate cloakroom for the identity of such holders to be kept private only so long as necessary to force some sort of compromise on the legislation in question. Compromise is probably not the spirit behind the present anonymous hold.

The problem here, of course, is that federal spending transparency is anathema for too many Democrats and Republicans in government. They think members of the public ought to keep their noses out of how their tax dollars are being spent by the Potomac potentates at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, and all the departments and agencies in between. The attitude was epitomized by former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott’s statement that he was “damn tired” of the “so-called porkbusters” because “they’ve been nothing but trouble ever since Katrina.” Those words sound like something you’d expect from a prime suspect in the present mystery, do they not?

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Over at the Corner, Andrew Stuttaford warns Republicans:

Stories like this can only add to a "throw the bums out" mentality this fall. And whoever the senator responsible for the "anonymous hold", the GOP should be under no illusions that - as the party in charge - they will be the ones that end up paying the electoral price.

He concludes, "Are you paying attention, Senator Frist?"