Members of Georgia’s congressional delegation are guilty of porking up the omnibus spending bill:
Georgia lawmakers have added nearly $99 million worth of earmarks to the federal spending bill making its way through the Senate and expected to get President Barack Obama’s signature on Friday. The bill — with a $410 billion total price tag — covers government spending through September.
Included in the earmarks are millions of dollars for improving Georgia roads, sewer systems and airports — including $1.8 million for environmental infrastructure in Atlanta and $1.3 million for clean fuel buses and facilities for MARTA.
Other earmarks include $300,000 to preserve a 1925 train coach repair shop in Savannah, $95,000 for a Jewish retirement community in Atlanta, and $209,000 to study ways to improve blueberry production in Georgia.
[“It’s all economic development,” said U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, a Democrat from Albany. “This is helping pump life into our economy.”
According to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, Bishop either individually or with others got nearly 60 earmarks, the most of any Georgia member of Congress. He and two other Georgia representatives, Jack Kingston, a Savannah Republican, and Jim Marshall, a Macon Democrat, as well as Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, requested the blueberry funding.
Critics say earmarks waste taxpayer money and can lead to corruption, since they’re often tied to requests from lobbyists and big campaign donors.
“The earmark process is just a bad way to get things done,” said Jared Thomas, Georgia director for Americans for Prosperity, a nonprofit political group that is a critic of earmarks. “If these things really are intended to stimulate the economy, let’s put it through the general appropriations process where it can be vetted and everybody can see what’s happening.”
Thomas is absolutely correct. The idea behind earmark reform is to bring some transparency to the process and weed out wasteful spending, something President Barack Obama said he supported, but has now proven himself a hypocrite by not telling congressional leaders to weed out pork and earmarks from the already bloated spending bill. This bill is so bad that Democrats in the Senate are planning on voting against it. Don’t tell that to Georgia Democrats, Jack Kingston, Phil Gingrey and our two Senators, all of whom have had a hand in larding up the omnibus.
By the way, Sanford Bishop, who defends his pork, is currently under investigation due to payments his wife received from a program that he secured funding for.
The AJC notes that Paul Broun, Nathan Deal, Tom Price and Lynn Westmoreland have all pledged not to request earmarks. I can’t find any earmarks with John Linder’s name on them either. Good for them on being responsible stewards of taxpayers money.
Taxpayers for Common Sense has a searchable database of the omnibus bill. You can check that out here.