An Earmark By Any Other Name Is Still an Earmark
You've heard "trust but verify" from none other than Ronald Reagan, no doubt. The Tea Party movement taught us to do that, and I hope you still are. Especially in the case of John Culberson, my congressman.
Congressman Culberson has been the star of many a blog posts here on The Political Chicken, and I'm feeling the need to turn the spotlight on him once again. Not because he's done anything NEW and egregious, but because of things he's STILL claiming to be. If you visit his website, he touts himself as a Jeffersonian Republican, but anyone who's studied his voting record can dispute that fact. Something that I did in a post titled, "Is John Culberson A Jeffersonian-Republican...Or Not?
Just like your favorite infomercial, but wait, there's more. Not only do the votes I highlighted in the blog referenced above prove that he is NOT a Jeffersonian-Republican, the fact that he's been making efforts to bring back earmarks proves it even further. Not only that, but when you take into account that Jefferson himself was against earmarks and addressed them in a letter he wrote to James Madison, it proves Culberson's claims as laughable.
In the letter, Jefferson writes of earmarks, "it will be a scene of eternal scramble among the members who can get the most money wasted in their state, and they will always get most who are meanest. We have thought hitherto that the roads of a state could not be so well administered even by the state legislature as by the magistracy of the county, on the spot. What will it be when a member of N.H. is to mark out a road for Georgia?" Sounds familiar.
The fiscal watchdog organization, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) is also, obviously, against the use of earmarks. Their former director of government affairs Bill Christian had this to say, "For those who rely too heavily on the “Article I” argument (that Congress controls the power of the purse), this is an important distinction that cannot be repeated enough: Yes, members of the House of Representatives are sent to Washington, D.C. to “represent” their various and diverse districts on issues of national importance; they were not, however, sent to the national capital to demonstrate how much more clever they might be, in manipulating the national treasury at the expense of their less senior and/or less powerful colleagues. Surely, the Founding Fathers did not intend for the “power of the purse” to be used to “rob Peter to pay Paul.”. CAGW also named Culberson their 'Porker of the Month' in their December 2016 issue.
What makes this also very 'funny' is that Culberson is out there campaigning so darn hard for the earmarks to be reinstated all the while claiming to be a Jeffersonian Republican. Culberson is campaigning for this effort using the Article 1 argument, which Bill Christian has said is another version of 'robbing Peter to pay Paul." And while Culberson and those that want to return to earmarking funds for their districts say that doing so won't increase spending, it still increases the deficit!
Another recent development in the effort to bring back earmarks is the potential threat that Hurricane Harvey is posing for the Texas Gulf Coast. The Houston Chronicle reports in an article that now Congressman Culberson is working to use this potential crisis to his advantage to get earmarks returned, and he's got two local Democratic congressman on board; Al Green and Gene Green. They offered their support, "when he proposed some loosening of the federal prohibition on earmarks." Well, now isn't that surprising, that a Democrat would want to spend more of your tax dollars? What was all of that talk about draining the swamp again?