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Congressional Republicans: About 40% Of Members, And About 40% Of Earmark Spending. So What's Their Point?

A popular political chant of the Republican Party leadership as well as conservative talk radio is that somehow the Republicans are attempting to control spending and the Democrats are not. However, the simple truth is that while Republicans are about 40% of all the members of Congress and the Senate, they still propose about 40% of all the earmark spending added into legislation. It would take a microscope to find any real difference in the spending habits of the members of either party. In fact. if anything President Obama has been bipartisan in his approach by asking both parties to attempt to better control such earmarks in all future legislation.

One good example was just this week when Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky attacked the federal budget bill, although his own state of Kentucky was to receive at least $70 million in various earmark projects, that might include as many as 70 or more earmark projects. It has become very popular for congressional Republicans to add earmark spending to bills, complain about the bill for the sake of the official congressional record, vote against the bill, yet know that the pet projects they either they added to the bill, or that other members of their Republican delegation added from their own state will still get funded and become law anyway. This has become a political game by this political party. mitch mcconnell.jpg

President Obama has proposed starting a new website where all earmark spending proposals will be posted online for everyone to see. Next time when someone like Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell rails against some legislation, but the facts tell that his state is getting millions in earmark spending, either by his own addition or by other members of his own Kentucky delegation, then they'll be able to judge just how honest Mr. McConnell actually is with the voters.

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Comments (6)


paul, the republican base is just as upset about republican politicians doing it as we are about democrats doing it. but at least there are some republican politicians (de Mint for example) that don't. can you name any democrats?


That's why I'm no longer a Republican. There were 4 folks in the Senate that didn't sponsor or co-sponsor earmarks: Coburn, McCain, Feingold and I forgot the fourth one.

All the rest can go to hell.

I just wish Obama had kept his promise and told Congress "This time in our country is too important for you idiots to keep dicking around like you normally do. Now send me a bill with no damn earmarks" Then he could have vetoes it and reached across the aisle to the conservatives in the rest of the country.


Republicans who passed record numbers of earmarks when they were in charge chided Democrats for passing their own. More than $12.8 billion, or 3 percent, of the money in the latest bill went to earmarks requested by lawmakers and by President George W. Bush's White House. Republicans rushed to condemn what Senator John McCain of Arizona, a longtime opponent of earmarks, called "business as usual in Washington." Ironic isn't it "that some of those who railed the loudest against this bill because of earmarks actually inserted earmarks of their own and will tout them in their own states and districts."

Boehner said Americans want government to practice the same financial restraint they have been forced to exercise: "It's time for government to tighten their belts and show the American people that we 'get' it." Remember, John Boehner is, in effect, the second-most influential member of the GOP (after Rush Limbaugh). And while Democrats hold a majority, it's not enough of a majority to make the minority party irrelevant. Right wing politicians such as Boehner are either pretending to be stupid, or really are stupid. The first possibility is depressing but not surprising. The second possibility is frightening.

Remember, this guy is not the least bit interested in fixing the economy. He's filling a political vacuum in a gambit for the 2010 elections. Now, if he were really interested in fixing the economy and said something like this, then I would worry.

Surely no one can get so far in life being so stupid (leaving w out of the discussion since he had those family connections and millions of dollars and all). And somehow it seems unlikely that your really stupid idea also happens to provide you with a highly manipulative political strategy that resonates with the public and makes "common sense" (yet falls apart on any inspection). So in conclusion, I think these guys know exactly what they're doing. Unfortunately the people who unquestioningly accept everything they say as truth really do believe the BS.


so i tried to follow along with you, allen. if i understand you correctly, you are saying that because Boehner is possibly stupid or manipulative about speaking out against earmarks, other every-day folk republicans are unquestioningly followers for also speaking out against earmarks?

did republicans behave badly when they were in charge when it came to earmarks? yes, they did. i think you'd find pretty bipartisan support for that conclusion. it's also one of the reasons they lost. they lost support from the base who vote.

could some republican politicians have learned from that? probably. most? probably not. i would agree with McCain's statement. i would also agree with Boehner's statement. and i would hope he would live up to it. do you disagree with what Boehner said? regardless of whether or not you believe he is practicing what he preaches. do you believe that governement needs to tighten it's belt and spend less and more wisely?

and why are democrats and others on the left so insistant on naming Rush to be the leader of the republican party? i mean, what the hell? shouldn't you be more worried about who the leader of you party is? and while i would agree that rush has a large influence, he is not really a leader. He's a commentator.

The sad fact is that the republican party really doesn't have a true leader right now. no one has really stepped up to the plate with ideas and an agenda.

And how do you know that Boehner's not interested in fixing the economy? Or is just that the only ones who are interested in fixing the economy must agree with what you think it will take? Why, exactly, do you think he's not interested in fixing the economy?


Oh please spare me the smokescreen! The point is obvious....your side are the clowns who are in charge! Buck up and take ownership.

This seems to parallel the long-standing opposition to defense spending by Democrats, who continually attempt to defund defense projects and cut the overall Defense Department budget. Yet those same Democrats will fight vigorously to prevent draw-downs or phase-outs of military bases in their own districts.

It's hard to bite the hand that feeds you, simply because pork money is a proven way to win popularity with voters. As the old saying goes, "it's the other guy who's greedy - I need what I'm getting!"


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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