March 3, 2009

Omnibus Budget Musings

Two weeks since I last posted. . . ugh. Feeling much better today, but I've been so fatigued again. I guess that's how it's going to be--up and down.

I just saw the Senate vote down Sen. McCain's amendment to retain the 2008 budget rather than pass Pres. Obama's 2009 proposed budget. Yesterday, Sen. McCain gave an angry rant on the Senate floor about some of the line items in the new budget. The rant was followed by a round of applause from Republican senators, something rarely seen in the chambers of either legislative body.

Some budget items raised by McCain do beg for an explanation:
  • funds to research pig odor
  • a grant to The Polynesian Voyaging Society
  • money for the Alaska PTA
  • funding for a rodeo museum
On the other hand, Republicans have pegged as earmarks items that are precisely the kind of spending we need:
At a recent news conference on the stimulus . . . Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) pointedly criticized earmarks, such as $2 billion for a near-zero-emissions power plant in Mattoon, Ill.
This plant will create meaningful, lasting jobs and--just as importantly--it is an investment in clean energy technology. So, what's the beef?

I watched some of the rancorous debate yesterday and again today. The bill will pass, of course, with most of the GOP voting no. In the meantime, both sides are making plenty of politcal hay with it.

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