Jeb Hensarling Fights The Good Fight — To Save The GOP From Itself

Hensarling continues to try to eliminate earmarks, and his GOP colleagues keep fighting to keep them. Earmarks are a tiny percentage of the federal budget, but they are the most egregious example of waste in government spending. They lead to corruption, special-interest pandering, and stupid projects. According to the Center for Media and Democracy:

The 1970 Defense Appropriations Bill had a dozen earmarks; the 1980 bill had 62; and by 2005, the defense bill included 2,671. Among the earmarks in the 2005 bill was money to eradicate brown tree snakes in Guam. Similar increases are seen in the history of the Transportation Appropriations Bill. When President Dwight Eisenhower proposed the first national highway bill in the 1950s, there were two projects singled out for specific funding. In August 2005, when Congress passed a six year, $286.4 billion Transportation Bill, there were 6,371 earmarks, ranging from $200,000 for a deer avoidance system in Weedsport, New York to $3 million for dust control mitigation on Arkansas’ rural roads. In all, there were roughly 15,000 congressional earmarks in 2005 at a total cost of $47 billion.

Note that in 2005 Republicans controlled Congress. And Jeb Hensarling was fighting even then to rein them in. After the GOP lost control of the House in 2006 — which even Karl Rove attributed to out-of-control spending — you’d think they would have learned. But no. If there is one issue on which a clear, bright line could be drawn between Democrats and Republicans, it could be earmarks.  But as a friend of mine says, “The Democrats are the dangerous party. I, on the other hand, belong to the stupid party.”


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16 responses to “Jeb Hensarling Fights The Good Fight — To Save The GOP From Itself”

  1. publicnewssense says:

    Is it good to cite the Guam Brown Tree Snake Eradication Program (GBTSEP-US)without examining the need? And, seriously, just how much money does tax-paying Guam get from the U.S. anyway? Few people know the dangers of these Brown Tree Snakes — they don’t travel in solitary or in pairs. They lurk in “wads” in trees and, after devouring whatever fruit is on the trees, they are in a frenzied state and drop onto farmworkers, passersby and tourists and lay into them with a viciousness that is usually seen only in pack animals. If no human or animal victims are nearby, they will attack the tires,hoses and sealing on civilian and government vehicles. The GBTSEP-US may be worth the money just for the tires and the ecological benefits of not having to make more tires and soil the atmosphere further. Thus, the GBTSEP-US is a “green project.”

  2. The Universe says:

    The democrats are the dangerous party?

    While I understand you are preaching to the choir, it does prove your other point that
    Republicans are stupid if they buy crap like this. Botton line. This economy did not fall on it’s face in the last month. Why don’t you ask Phil Gramm and his crooked wife? Or would that be whinning?

  3. tom says:

    Peta will step in and stop that program. Those poor pitiful snakes need protecting………….

  4. Don in Austin says:

    I’ve gotta side with pns regarding the use of brown tree snakes as a bad example of wasteful earmark spending.
    Brown tree snakes are an invasive species that have wiped out indigenous bird species of Guam. Control and eradication of harmful invasive species is a good thing for government to do with benefits for humans and the critters. I do wonder if those snakes are good to eat?

  5. Wick Allison says:

    @pns and Don: If the brown tree snake is such a problem — and I don’t doubt that it is — why couldn’t the money to eradicate it come through the regular appropriations process? Why an earmark? Is the process so broken that the only way good things can happen is through earmarks — which inevitably and demonstrably lead to bad things such as corruption?

  6. Jason says:


    Good question. My hunch is that regular appropriations are probably shored up for infrastructure, port management, security, and schools. Eradicating a population of wild animals is probably an ongoing process that requires r&d dollars along with implementation dollars to verify no undue harm is caused to vegetation, ground water, human contact, due to chemicals used in destruction of the animals, et cetera.

    I think the overall point here is you can’t make a forest assessment of a situation without knowing what kind of trees you’re dealing with.

  7. Chris says:

    Hard to imagine a more dishonest post than this, anyone who’s paid the slightest bit of attention to politics over the past few months knows that Republican have been railing against earmarks this year. Are they the same ones that gladly accepted earmarks when Bush was President? You bet, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’ve been vociferous in their opposition to earmarks this year. And it’s hard to find, but even the linked out article has this one sentence –

    Democrats, who are near-unanimous in their support for earmarks

  8. towski says:

    @ Chris:

    Being “vociferous in opposition” to earmarks isn’t exactly the same as not requesting them, is it?

    The Chron article linked in the original post contains nuggets like these:

    Cornyn, who requested at least 53 earmarks costing nearly $200 million in the spending bill, said earmarks have become nearly synonymous with wasteful spending, “and I don’t necessarily think they all are. ”
    But a large number of Texas Republicans – including Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn and Houston-area Reps. John Culberson, Ted Poe and Ron Paul – remain unwilling to allow the Democratic majority, which isn’t abandoning earmarks, to get 100 percent of the locally targeted spending.

    Like others, Culberson decries earmarks in general but he defends efforts to target spending on his district. Culberson sought at least 18 earmarks worth $63.6 million in the latest House-passed spending measure.


    Vociferous? Yes. Vociferously hypocritical.

  9. publicnewssense says:

    Snakes have no ears. Not even in Guam.

  10. Don in Austin says:

    Actually, snakes have inner ears and can detect vibration. Then there are the pit vipers but that’s an entirely different kind of political analogy.

  11. Chris says:

    Point taken towski. My complaint is there’s an effort here to portray earmarks as solely a Republican problem, when Democrats are much more supportive of them overall.

  12. towski says:

    I’d say there’s plenty of blame to go around.

  13. Jason says:

    The reality is EVERY politician, regardless of party, loves when his/her own constituency receives an earmark. As soon as dirt begins flying at whatever library, highway, or public fountain that gets created from an earmark, you’re guaranteed to see the repub/dem leader taking credit for the project.

  14. NeitherParty says:

    I am out on worrying about ‘the parties’.
    Wick, what is up with Ron Paul and his earmarks? I shouldn’t be surprised by ANY politician’s hypocrisy.

  15. publicnewssense says:

    Don in Austin, Love people who are anal about ears. I should have said, “Snakes have no ear holes. They are all in Austin.”

  16. My fellow on Facebook shared this link with me and I’m not dissapointed at all that I came here.