Remember almost a year ago when Cathy McMorris Rodgers trumpeted the Select Committee on Earmark Reform? The announcement posted on her site said:
McMorris Rodgers will lead the committee as it relies on input from House Members and the public to develop an earmark reform proposal by February.
And in a second announcement on her site:
McMorris Rodgers also begins the 111th Congress as the chair of the newly-created Select Committee on Earmark Reform. House Republicans created the committee which will rely on input from House Members and the public to develop an earmark reform proposal by mid-February.
“Just as American families and businesses must struggle to prioritize and balance their budgets, Congress should do the same,” McMorris Rodgers said. “Reforming the earmark process is one step toward returning fiscal discipline, transparency and accountability to Washington, D.C.”
That earmark reform proposal was due in February...of 2009. So what has the committee produced under her leadership?
Nothing. Nada. Zip. Nil. Nearly eight months after the due date and there are no reform proposals. But she has been busy. And inspirational.
From an article on Politico: (Don't forget to read page 2)
Committee Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) has requested roughly $129 million in earmarks so far this year. Her staff defended her panel’s work, saying it has “inspired” a GOP website that lists all members’ earmark requests and also inspired “the Republican transparency initiative” that is being pushed now on Capitol Hill.
But McMorris Rodgers’ staff and committee could not identify a single reform recommended by the group. Nor could earmark critic Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), another member of the committee.
Asked about the committee’s progress so far, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) looked at the ground and smirked. “[The lack of progress is] disappointing, certainly disappointing,” said Flake, a member of the committee and one of the most vocal critics of earmarks in Congress. “We haven’t offered any more comprehensive reform to earmarks.”
House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence of Indiana told POLITICO on Tuesday that the panel is doing “good work.” Informed that the committee missed a February deadline and hasn’t met since then, Pence said he’d have to “plead ignorance” because he is not on the committee, adding that the “American people are ahead of most members of Congress” on the issue and that Republicans are “much more prepared” to deal with it than Democrats.
Remember when Cathy McMorris Rodgers was so concerned about earmarks she did not request any for a whole year?
Remember, "Business as usual is not acceptable," McMorris Rodgers said. "Time and time again I've seen where the earmark process has been used and abused for personal and political gain. Congress needs real earmark reform."
Remember, she also said, “Reforming the earmark process is one step toward returning fiscal discipline, transparency and accountability to Washington, D.C.”?
And last of all, “I support earmarks, but not under the current system. Our tax dollars should be used wisely or not at all. Taxpayers should be assured that Congress provides the proper oversight in spending their dollars.”
With such an expressed passion for reform--and rewarded with the Chair for the Select Committee on Earmark Reform--you'd think Cathy McMorris Rodgers and the committee she chairs would actually work on earmark reform.
It almost makes you wonder which definition of inspire her staff was referring to. Everyone take a deep breath. Now that's inspiration.
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