Thursday, September 25, 2008
MICA: NO WAY IN HELL I WOULD SUPPORT BANNING EARMARKS (Orlando Sentinel reports "Watchdog group calls Mica its 'porker of the month'" for July )
Watchdog group calls Mica its "porker of the month"
posted by Mark Matthews on Jul 24, 2008 12:26:02 PM
WASHINGTON -- A government watchdog group today named U.S. Rep. John Mica its "Porker of the Month" for the Winter Park Republican’s defense of earmarks, a federal spending device that allows lawmakers to insert pet projects into spending bills.
“We picked him because he is emblematic of a certain blindness, or recklessness, of certain members of Congress. They can only see as far as their next earmark,” said Leslie Paige, a spokeswoman for the Washington-based Citizens Against Government Waste.
In particular, the group zeroed in on a recent quote by Mica, who said: "There's no way in hell I would support banning earmarks ... That's our job, getting elected and making decisions. Yes, there are bad earmarks, like there are bad members of Congress. And what you do is get rid of them.”
Paige argues that earmarks “are all bad” because they are “secret and they are unaccountable and they are done outside the normal budget process.”
Mica is seeking $139 million worth of earmarks for 44 projects in 2009 spending bills, requests that he made available to the Orlando Sentinel. In past interviews, Mica has said that earmarks are helpful because it’s one tool that allows lawmakers to quickly address problems back home.
In his current request, he has asked for two $25 million earmarks -- one to support returning veterans, the other to purchase a military simulation program -- as well as several transportation and water projects in Central Florida.
Recent earmark scandals have forced Congress to tighten its control over the earmark projects. Now the requests must be made public once the earmarks are inserted into spending bills. However, many Central Florida lawmakers, including Mica, publicized their requests before they were required to do so.
Neither for the state’s two senators -- Republican Mel Martinez and Democrat Bill Nelson – made their full requests public. One House member from Central Florida, U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, also declined to release her requests.