For weeks now, Democrats have been grumbling about the blatant hypocrisy of Republicans on earmarks and spending. For a decade, the House Republicans have passed out earmarks like cocaine at the Ravenel household. And they've shown the fiscal restraint of Paris Hilton on Rodeo Drive. But now that the Democrats control the House, suddenly, earmarks are bad and spending is suddenly out of control.
But some of these tough talkers are now being exposed as the hypocrites they are.
McHenry pushes $129K earmark for X-mas tree foundation
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) was all over the House floor last week, bashing Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) and other Democratic leaders for not doing enough to disclose member earmarks early in the appropriations process, as Democrats had promised when they took over the House in January. Republicans eventually got Democrats to back down and release the earmark requests -- read "pork" -- earlier than Obey had planned, so McHenry got what he wanted. And now McHenry will be forced to defend his $129,000 earmark, via the Small Business Administration, for Christmas trees.
When asked about the earmark, McHenry doesn't like to use the word pork. The North Carolina Republican prefers the term "directed spending," and he said this request is perfectly defensible, even though Democrats have been quietly chuckling about it since it was unveiled as part of the Financial Services spending bill earlier today.
"Look, the important thing is transparency and openness," McHenry said when asked about the earmark, which he confirmed that he had inserted into the bill. "I have never been opposed to directed spending."
McHenry added: "I just think that it's critical for members to know what they are voting on when a [spending] bill comes to the floor."
So for McHenry, pork is OK, as long as you know what pork you're voting on. Got that? Thanks.