Senators escape being pinned down on bill full of earmarks

March 10, 2009

FINANCIAL/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.

Others like Democratic Senator Tom Harkin have defended their projects, arguing that they have worthy goals or are needed to address a problem.

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.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

5 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Jeremy, your groups Reuters just had a big story about the protest out in front of a auction house by about 12 people concerning the people losing their homes.

I just did a search on Reuters for coverage of the HUNDREDS of protests going on in every city in the US about protesting this BAILOUT.

I did not find ONE report on the Tea Party protests.

Sir, why are you only covering the \”cry in you beer\” side of this. Will Reuters perhaps cover the HUNDREDS of other protests going on AGAINST the bailout.

Before these groups got our congress to killed the economic system with the Community Reinvestment Act. Do some research on that and which congressmen forced lenders to do this. Try Barney Franks with his lover that worked with Fannie, and Chris Dodd who took money and low interest loans for pushing the scam.

Lets see coverage of the Tea Partys. Do a google and you will find them.

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive

what has happened to the quality of the people who represent us, i seldom see any redeeming qualities in either parties.you can recognize the self interest as soon as they open their mouths,it is very disheartening .if these people worked next to you,you would not give them the time of day,no wonder the whole system is corrupt.yet we proudly hold up our democracy for the world to see.our founding fathers must be turning in their graves, as this crowd squabble with their inflated egos.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Haven’t seen an article regarding card check either. My job will be outsourced if that goes through. The union has been trying to get into where I work for years and up until now it’s been a secret ballot. Not all of us want to be unionized!!!!

Posted by Pat B | Report as abusive

It has been argued that many of past and present earmarks are worthy projects. The real issue is why aren’t funding mechanisms for these projects in the bill that is brought to a vote instead of tacking them on? Projects worthy of sacrifice and investment should presented and debated. How does one effect fiscal oversight without such practices? Or just maybe no one in congress wants to exercise their Constitutional duties. The congress already gave the power to declare and finance war to the President through the Patriot Act and Homeland Security Act. It would appear that our elected representatives in Washington do little else but engage in a shopping spree without concern as to how to pay for it. The Roman Senate Became nothing more than an “Ole boys club” after they relinquished the bulk of their power to the Emperor. Has our Congress done the same?

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

Some earmarks can be beneficial to rebuilding the economy and increasing employment in different area of the country. If any earmark cannot do this then it should be shelved until some other time. We have to concentrate on rebuilding what we’ve let our representatives tear down. Filling the pockets of those that favors are owed to can wait.

Posted by Tom B. | Report as abusive

[...] votes, the Senate passed H.R. 1105, the Omnibus Appropriations Act by a VOICE VOTE!  To quote a Reuters Blog::  “Alas, the public will never know how any of the wavering senators voted on the [...]