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Pork (also known as congressional earmarks) is special projects granted money from congress to promote certain causes. Sometimes earmarks are a good thing, and the right thing to do. But more often than not, earmarks are pure pork - money transferred from the US taxpayers, to small groups or corporations. Sometimes these transfers are to help generate jobs in the state, or draw tourism. Even in these cases, should the entire US be paying for the effort? And all too often the pork is nothing but a payback for campaign donations.

Normally pork is hard to pin down. The pork is hidden deep inside unrelated bills, or Congress can claim they did not vote for the pork, because they can hide behind group anonimity. But recently, thanks to Congressman Jeff Blake, we get an insight into how each Representative stands on pork. Blake proposed 19 ammendments to trim pork from bills, forcing each congressman to vote yes or no. A No vote means the pork is kept in the original bill, and a Yes vote means the pork is cut. These earmarks are valued at 34,759,000. Thirty Four Million Dollars.  It may be a drop in the bucket of the overall budget, but every penny we spend over budget, is a penny we are paying interest on, and our children, and our grandchildren.

Now as an aside, our government is a Federal government. Our congress does not represent the nation, they represent each individual state (or district), and should be looking out for the interests of their own constituents. It is right, and proper, that each representative advocate for that state, even when that position may not be good for the nation as  a whole. This will get taken care of, because all of the other members of congress do not have the same interests, and efforts that benefit only one state should get quickly voted down. That is also right and proper - So below, where Iowa's Representatives have voted on House Vote 190 - Dairy Education in Iowa - It is right for them to vote for this effort, even though it may be wrong for the nation as a whole. Its up to the other members of congress to not let this through.

In Iowa, the pork situation looks pretty grim, with the exception of Steve King from the 5th District. While many criticize King for his some of his views, on the issue of Pork, clearly he is a true fiscal conservative. King voted Yes (to cut the pork) on 17 of the 19 ammendments. He voted No (keep the pork) on the Iowa Dairy Education amendment (190), and abstained from voting on the amendment for Tourism Development in Kentuky (338). As stated above, the vote for Iowa was the correct thing for King to do as an Iowa rep, even if it isn't the right thing for the nation - the collective vote takes care of that. For all the other amendments, he voted yes, to cut the pork, on issues from growing tomatoes in Ohio, to creating a mall on Arthur Avenue. Last time I checked, malls didn't have problems keeping a balanced budget, but congress does. We don't need to be spending money on that!

Unfortunately, the club of Iowa Fiscal Conservatives only has one member. Our other representatives, Jim Nussle, Jim Leach, Leonard Boswell, and Tom Latham all like bacon a little too much.  As stated above, I give all of these reps a pass on the 190 vote for Iowa Dairy - that is doing their jobs.  But they went above and beyond the call of duty below and behind the call of duty on this issue.

Leonard Boswell voted to keep the pork on 19 out of 19 amendments. Yet he has the audacity to put a link on his website claiming my portion of the 8+ Trillion dollar national debt is 28,000. I am willing to pay my share, but where does he think that debt comes from?

Jim Nussle also kept the pork on 19 out of 19 amendments. Nussle's website includes him standing next to Iowa's Pork Queen Amber Appleton, so at least he is honest about his position on Pork.

Tom Latham, again 19 out of 19 on the wrong side of pork. Tom claims to support tax relief. Where does he think that money comes from?

Jim Leach has a slightly better (but by no means good) record, he voted to cut the pork 3 times out of 19. Leach did pick a good one to cut, $20,000,000 for a wood research facility. Leach also voted to cut funding for a Bronx arts center, and “Jonstown area regional industries“.

How does your rep stack up? Check out the Club for Growth, and read your reps record. Write your own blog entry. Call your congressman and let him know what you think!


Posted on Thursday, July 27, 2006 6:33 AM politics | Back to top

Comments on this post: Iowa Porkbusting Efforts - A Scorecard of Iowa Pork and Congressional Earmarks

# 435 Districts - 435 Blogs Against Pork
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It's time to blog against pork! Thanks to Congressman Jeff Flake's 19 anti-pork amendments, we now have every House member on record regarding their positions on earmarks. Before now, House members have been able to avoid scrutiny because their pork was co-mingled with other projects and tucked into the dark corners of big spending bills. Or they were able to withstand the scrutiny because they were attacked as a whole chamber and not directly attacked themselves. But because of Flake's amendments, they were recently forced to cast up-or-down votes on specific projects. They could no longer deflect attention. Below is...
Left by Club for Growth on Jul 27, 2006 8:50 AM

# re: Iowa Porkbusting Efforts - A Scorecard of Iowa Pork and Congressional Earmarks
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Personally I think Flake is an idiot. But I do support all efforts to remove the pork often associated with Congress.

Another resource for finding/seeing pork;
Left by vern on Jul 27, 2006 9:33 AM

# re: Iowa Porkbusting Efforts - A Scorecard of Iowa Pork and Congressional Earmarks
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To get information about pork-barrel spending, the Pig book has provided the authoritative list of pork in the federal budget. The Pig Book, which has nothing to do with an epithet for law enforcement, is a yearly journal published by the Citizens Against Government Waste which details the "pork" spending done by the federal government every year. If more people had their hands on it, a lot of legislators would doubtless put an online cash advance to stop it. The CAGW makes the Pig Book available for free download and a hard copy of the yearly report available for a cash donation. The donation asked for isn't huge, so you can get a copy of the Pig Book of government pork without worrying about short term loans.

Left by Drake W on Apr 21, 2009 2:43 AM

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