House Democrats: Pork is OK if it’s Anti-War
House Democratic leaders are offering billions in federal funds for lawmakers’ pet projects large and small to secure enough votes this week to pass an Iraq funding bill that would end the war next year.
So far, the projects — which range from the reconstruction of New Orleans levees to the building of peanut storehouses in Georgia — have had little impact on the tally. For a funding bill that establishes tough new readiness standards for deploying combat forces and sets an Aug. 31, 2008, deadline to bring the troops home, votes do not come cheap.
But at least a few Republicans and conservative Democrats who otherwise would vote “no” remain undecided, as they ponder whether they can leave on the table millions of dollars for constituents by opposing the $124 billion war funding bill due for a vote on Thursday…
“The war supplemental legislation voted out of the Appropriations Committee last week was an exercise in arrogance that demonstrated the utter contempt the majority has for the American people and their hard-earned tax dollars,” fumed Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.). “We are at war with a ruthless global terrorist network, yet the appropriators allocated hundreds of millions in funds to gratuitous pork projects.”
Even some Democrats say the issue of Iraq has become far too heated to be conducive to vote-buying.
“The profile and urgency of this Iraq vote really doesn’t lend itself to these kinds of side deals,” said Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.)…