Earmarking allows lawmakers to steer federal spending to pet projects in their states and districts. Earmarks take many forms, including road projects, improvements to home district military bases, sewer projects, economic development projects.
— Washington Post: Senate Republicans’ ban on earmarks proves short lived
by Andrew Taylor, AP
Senator Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. managed to get $200M slated to settle a water rights claim with an Arizona Indian Tribe.
This certainly meets the initial test of being an earmark as quoted above from the Post. As far as I’m concerned, it also makes the case for one bill, one topic if for no other reason than to avoid even the appearance of backroom deals. An appropriations, or funding bill, should be designed to fund a single entity unless it is an overall budget bill. The single entity bill should clearly delineate how much said entity, entitlement or enterprise is expected to cost initially, over the course of the next several years, and over the course of its expected lifetime. A funding bill should also delineate overall benefits to US Citizens, projected returns on investment (if any) and at least a modicum of support personnel, departments and other entities required to bring to fruition.
Unrealistic? Too lengthy of a process? Every individual or family living in this country is forced to make those exact same decisions every day of their lives. They may want to eat at Outback for lunch, but if the pocketbook only has $5.00 in it, “ain’t gonna happen”. It is high time Congress and the Senate started operating by the same principles the American people have to live by. Budget, and spend our money wisely.
As for the length of time involved in such a bill making process, if it is not an emergency situation than lengthy discussion serves the purpose of full and adequate debate on an issue. Making the most appropriate choice often involves lengthy periods of time and debate, and should be the ultimate goal of any legislative process. Unfortunately, for too long, personal agendas and favor currying have carried the day against appropriate choices.
I live in Arizona. I know first hand how awful the water is here in Phoenix and the effects of years-long drought. I also understand that water-use negotiations are usually complex, heated issues and that all parties involved want a favored status solution, making the whole affair even more difficult to reach resolution on. Which is exactly why such high-profile discussions should be handled on a case by case basis, giving no hint of favoritism or backroom deals or shady operations. Discussions should be open, decisions reviewed and direction determined prior to funding a project.
Shame on you, sir. While I respect your advocacy for the state of Arizona and its inhabitants, I believe you “stepped in it”, and on purpose, this time.