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March 10, 2022 10:18 AM UTC

Republicans Punishing Their Own Constituents (Again)

  • 7 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols
Colorado Republicans once again (not) bringing home the funding.

Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim reports on the passage in the U.S. House yesterday of a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill chock full of long-awaited priorities across the state ready to put those taxpayer dollars to work–and once again, it’s a case of partisan haves and have-nots as Republican lawmakers refuse to participate in the process, leaving their constituents out of the rainmaking:

Leadership brought member-directed funding back to Congress after it was banned in 2011 when then-President Barack Obama and Republicans pushed to end the practice due to concerns over wasteful spending and budget deficits.

Now that the practice is back, but with more transparency to prevent waste and corruption, according to congressional leaders. Colorado Democrats made use of the member-directed funding opportunities by helping earmark about 100 projects for local governments, universities, hospitals, law enforcement and non-profits across the state.

Colorado Republicans have already shunned its return. And it’s possible Republicans will remove the practice once again if they gain control of the House next fall.

But for now, the practice is here to stay. And to make the process more transparent than in years past, all members of Congress must make public their requests, show need and prove no one in the member’s family would benefit from the funds.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with representatives being able to make specific funding requests for priorities in their district–especially under the new rules which require much more transparency. Republicans may change the rules if they regain power, but to refuse to participate in the meantime makes constituents the victims.

Fortunately for the residents of Colorado’s Third, Fourth, and Fifth Congressional districts, although they were represented in the House by Republicans whose ideological roadblock prevented them from participating in the dreaded “earmark” process, they were also represented by two Democratic U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper who were responsible for nailing down specific funding requests for a variety of projects in those districts. From Adams State College in Alamosa to wastewater treatment in Craig and housing assistance in Sterling, money will get to these projects despite the refusal of their Republicans representatives to sully themselves with the job of asking.

At some point between now and November, one or more of these Republicans is certain to take credit for “earmarks” obtained by Democrats on behalf of their constituents. Boebert herself has already been caught taking credit for projects she not only didn’t request but actually voted against–just like she voted against both halves of yesterday’s bill. Making anti-gubmint activists like Grover Norquist happy by throwing a tantrum over the rules of the game does nothing for constituents who just want stuff to get done. And when constituents see stuff getting done, nobody wants to be on the opposing side.

When that happens, complain loudly in hope that they won’t get away with it.

Comments

7 thoughts on “Republicans Punishing Their Own Constituents (Again)

  1. This Pols article is premature as the bill has not passed the Senate.

    Kindly save the rotten tomatoes, eggs, brickbats until a bill is actually on the President's desk.

    1. Put your mind at ease, CHB:

      March 10, 2022 | By Greg Hadley

      Late on the evening of March 10, the Senate passed a massive omnibus spending bill to fund the federal government for the rest of fiscal 2022, sending it to President Joe Biden for his signature.

      For the Defense Department, in particular, the bill will provide $728.5 billion in discretionary spending for defense-related activities—roughly 5 percent more than the funding in fiscal 2021 and above the $715 billion requested by the Biden administration. It also includes $13.6 billion in aid to bolster Ukraine in its response to Russia’s invasion.

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