Incoming U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin sent a brief news release today announcing that he'd proudly voted along with every other House Republican to ban earmarks in the 112th Congress. (I should have explained originally that this was a symbolic caucus vote to grab headlines.) Said Griffin:
“This is just the first step in changing the culture of Washington to one where the American taxpayer is respected. While some worthwhile projects have been funded through earmarks, earmarks have contributed to wasteful spending and the corruption of our system. I am proud we have taken this crucial step toward earning the confidence and trust of the American people.”
Just a minute ago, I got a response to a question I'd sent David Nilles at the state Highway and Transportation Department. I can't link the file he sent because of the format, but he put together a list of 53 highway projects in Arkansas funded by earmarks over the next four years. The list includes work on Geyer Springs Road, a South Loop Bypass, the I-40 interchange at Maumelle and the Conway South Interchange. Oh, and yes, earmarks are paying a portion of the I-430/630 improvements.
The new culture is going to hurt us more than it's going to hurt them.