Words are cheap, so don’t expect Congress to participate

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Sixth District Congressman Bob Goodlatte is hoping to reform the often abused earmark process that dominates wasteful spending in Washington, D.C.

    Good luck with that.

    If the healthcare legislation fiasco of this past year taught this nation anything, it’s this – anyone can be bought if the price is right.

    Goodlatte announced the introduction of his resolution last week, stating that while families and businesses are having to make tough spending calls, Congress should have to do the same as it spends taxpayer money.

    “The earmark process is broken and in desperate need of reform,” Goodlatte stated.  “The lack of accountability, abuse and some instances of corruption are widely known.”

    And for the most part, it’s done with little shame.

    Goodlatte called on Democrats to join in the process: "The simple fact is that our policy will not save the taxpayers a dime unless Democrats reduce spending by the amount saved with the Republican moratorium,” he stated, adding that the legislation’s intent is to “ensure the taxpayers’ hard-earned money is not squandered on wasteful government spending.”

    The proposed legislation calls on House Democrats to join Republicans in the one-year moratorium on all earmarks and directs total discretionary spending to be reduced by the same amount saved by this earmark moratorium.  And the resolution calls on Congress to create a bipartisan committee to overhaul the entire budgetary, spending and earmark processes.

    It’s a noble goal, but one that isn’t likely to go far. Republicans and Democrats alike have enjoyed for far too long the process as it currently stands.

    “Wasteful earmarks are a symbol of a broken Washington and the out-of-control-spending that is scaring the American people to death,” added House Republican Leader John Boehner. 

    Goodlatte stated that this nation’s taxpayers are looking to the government for leadership during this difficult time. We may be looking, but we’re not holding our breath. Trying to get the federal government to “both eliminate every cent of waste and squeeze every cent of value out of each dollar our citizens entrust to it” is like trying to make an aircraft carrier turn on a dime like a speedboat — it’s just not possible. 

    Yes, Congress needs to balance the budget and reduce the deficit and the debt by being good stewards of taxpayer money, but what it should and what it will do are historically light years apart.

    “The nation continues to face serious budgetary challenges and it is time we take control of spending instead of letting it control the Congress.  I believe reforming the flawed earmark process is a critical first step to restoring fiscal responsibility and bring integrity back to our government,” Goodlatte stated.

    Nice words. But the reality is, that’s probably all that will come of it.