Monday, May 08, 2006

Vince: "What the Hell is Going on out There?"

This is Janesville, Wisconsin. It is a UAW union-dominated blue city in a blue state. Our State Representative is Mike Sheridan, (D), the local UAW president. Our State Senator is Judy Robson, (D), a liberal Registered Nurse. Janesville votes for U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, (D), a native son. We vote for U.S. Senator Herb Kohl, (D), even though I'm not convinced he really exists. Janesville voted for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004.

Our U.S. Representative is Paul Ryan, (R), who is as conservative as... as conservative as... shoot! I can't think of anyone living with which to compare him. So... "What the hell is going on out there?"

Paul promoted a good Social Security Reform plan, similar in many ways to that which President Bush put forth. They failed... this time. It ain't over. Ryan doesn't give up very easily.

For almost 8 years Representative Ryan has been seeking to change the way House rules have been 'earmarking' pork spending since 1974. The 32 year old rules allowed for the insertion of pork so late in the legislative process that no one had the ability to challenge that specific 'earmark'. They could only vote for or against the entire conference report. You might have to vote against troop funding to deny a $500 million 'poison pill' earmarked for a railroad to be rebuilt closer to Mississippi gambling casinos.

A lobbying accountability bill (H.R. 4975) that passed the House recently by a vote of 217-213 also included provisions to enable any member of the Congress to challenge last minute earmarks inserted into a spending bill as it is finalized in the House/Senate conference committee.

Ryan: “I have been fighting to bring transparency and accountability to the way Congress spends taxpayers' money since I came to Congress. This reform does just that and I look forward to bringing my legislative line-item veto bill to the House floor in June along with other reforms to help us balance the budget. Shining sunlight on earmarks will discourage wasteful spending and help the public hold Members of Congress accountable for any spending projects they add to bills. If an earmark is tucked into legislation, the reforms we approved today would expose it and allow it to be challenged. This is just one step in a series of reforms we are advancing to transform the congressional budget process to save taxpayer dollars and clamp down on unnecessary government spending.”1.

Ryan credits Majority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and other Republican leaders for standing up against the 32 year old House tradition.

Senator Tom Coburn, MD, (R-OK) called earmarking "a gateway drug on the road to the spending addiction," He is co-sponsoring S.2265, a Senate version similar in purpose to that which Ryan pushed in the House. S.2265 is sponsored by Senator John McCain.

It is good to see that some members of our U.S. Congress are working to control themselves and not just the activities of everyone else.

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