December 14, 2006

Hip-Hip, Mini-Hooray

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:19 am

From Wednesday’s

Wednesday, December 13, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST

Few things became the 109th Congress so much as its departure. After two years of missed opportunities and scandal, the Members were finally able to leave Washington on the weekend having made a few notable last-minute accomplishments.

At the top of the list, renegade GOP Senators Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn led the charge against 12,000 earmarks that Appropriators had hoped to stuff into the remaining fiscal 2007 spending bills. Among the early Christmas booty was $4.9 billion in “emergency” relief for farmers, and millions for parking garages, jazz museums and bike paths. Also on the favor list was a too-creative $682 million tax credit for a New York City rail project that these columns highlighted last week.

Despite much howling from special interests and New York politicians, the rebels prevailed and Congress instead passed a stopgap “continuing resolution” that will fund the government at 2006 levels until mid-February and save taxpayers as much as $17 billion. The earmarks died. Democrats may well power up the spending machine come January, but at least it’s on idle for the moment.

If the spending machine gets re-powered, it will be clear who did it, but that’s about as good as the news gets. Those who spent years running the spending machine on overdrive aren’t exactly going to be convincing when they object to the machine getting turned on again.


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