Senators escape being pinned down on bill full of earmarks
Much has been made in Washington over the last week in the U.S. Senate about which Democrats and Republicans would vote for the $410 billion bill to fund government operations because it includes thousands of lawmakers’ pet projects.
Some senators like Republican John McCain have excoriated the expenditures, roughly $7.7 billion according to a count by the independent group Taxpayers for Common Sense, as unnecessary spending or destined for projects that should have been properly vetted through regular congressional review.
Missouri Republican Kit Bond, who has $86 million worth of earmarks in the legislation according to the taxpayer group, for a week batted away reporters’ questions about whether he would support or oppose the bill.
His Missouri colleague, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, told reporters last week she was unsure whether she would support passing the legislation. She has criticized the process for earmarks and had none in the measure but has said some projects can be worthwhile.
Alas, the public will never know how any of wavering senators voted on the bill because the Senate approved it by voice vote instead of a roll call tally, thereby alleviating the chances that they will be criticized for backing it.
Unless they decide to tell the public how they voted.