Eight Republicans Vote for Pork-Laden Spending Bill; Three Democrats Vote No
March 11, 2009<br />
The vote to cut off debate was 62-35, with eight Republicans voting to let the bill advance.
The Republicans who helped pass the spending bill – which is padded with pork-barrel spending -- are Sens. Richard Shelby of Alabama, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Kit Bond of Missouri, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. Those Republicans all used the spending bill to bring money home to their congressional districts.
The three Democrats voting against the omnibus spending bill are Evan Bayh of Indiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), chairman of the House Republican Conference, called it unfortunate that a majority of senators “voted against fiscal responsibility and decided to keep thousands of egregious earmarks in the Democrats’ massive omnibus spending bill.”
Pence said it is clear that Democrats support more government and more taxes. “Families across the country are tightening their budgets, and Washington should do the same,” he said in a news release after the bill passed on Tuesday.
Pence and other Republican leaders want President Obama to veto the “irresponsible legislation.” But despite his recent pledge to Congress to eliminate wasteful and ineffective programs, Obama is expected to sign the bill. Administration officials describe it as “last year’s business.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said a recession is no excuse for politicians to spend taxpayers’ money recklessly.
“By vetoing this bill, the President can send a powerful message that he intends to keep his promise to fight for spending discipline and fiscal transparency at a time when such things have never mattered more to American families,” Boehner said.
“This legislation is loaded with 9,000 unscrutinized earmarks – the kind of secretive spending the President promised to oppose – and includes the largest non-emergency discretionary spending increase since the Carter years,” Boehner said.
“It comes just weeks after enactment of a trillion-dollar spending bill that Washington Democrats are already admitting will fail to meet the President’s goals, and just weeks before Congress votes on a budget that spends, taxes, and borrows far too much when our nation can least afford it.”
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), an advocate for fiscal discipline, voted against the bill because it contained 9,287 earmarks totaling more than $13 billion.
“Americans are suffering in this economy, but Washington appears to be recession-proof, with billions wasted on politicians' pet projects,” said DeMint.
He noted that the bill contains earmarks for tattoo removal, swine odor, midnight basketball, museums, bike paths, a “Totally Teen Zone,” and the controversial liberal advocacy group LaRaza. “Combined with the spending bills already passed last year, it will drive up the number of earmarks in Fiscal Year 2009 to a total of 11,914 at a cost of $28.9 billion,” DeMint said.