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Feds who send arms against ranch families betray American values
Topic - Steve Ellis
The Senate's emergency spending bill to cover costs from Hurricane Sandy includes millions of dollars that will never touch the affected Northeast — including money for salmon fisheries in Alaska, cash for an expansion of train service into New York, and funds to preserve and repair historic properties.
A key aide to D.C. politicians recently earned more than $200,000 working as chief of staff in a city agency in charge of rebuilding city schools, but he wasn't on the government's payroll. Instead, he was hired through a nearly quarter-million-dollar no-bid contract.
Capitol Hill insiders say at least 75 percent of lawmakers privately still think earmarking is a correct and proper use of congressional authority. Yet last week, one of the Senate's champion earmarkers, Sen. Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, hammered home the nail that officially ended the practice — at least for the time being.
Newly emboldened earmark foes are calling on President Obama to back up his opposition to pork-barrel spending with action.
The first spending bill to begin moving through Congress since House Republicans pledged to forgo earmarks shows the vow is working: The bill contains nearly 50 percent less in pork-barrel spending than last year's version.
The U.S. Postal Service's president of shipping signed off on a no-bid, $4 million consulting contract to a firm partly because it employed a former associate from his days as an executive at pickle producer Vlasic Foods and lawn care giant Scotts Miracle-Gro, records show.
The question of reimbursement for a rescue operation often arises for those seen as putting themselves at risk, said Steve Ellis, a former Coast Guard officer and vice president of the Washington-based nonprofit Taxpayers for Common Sense.
In recent years, the debate over who should foot the bill of sea rescue operations has extended to cruise liners carrying thousands of people out to sea that needed help after becoming stranded, he added.