Matt Stearns and Rob Hotakainen report:
Democratic leaders in the new Congress plan to strip funding for thousands of pet projects for individual members, a big display of fiscal discipline they say will help cut deficits and curb spending abuses. As soon as they take control on Jan. 4, Democrats plan to impose a one-year moratorium on all special projects, known as earmarks, effectively killing those that were tucked into unfinished spending bills by the Republican-led Congress.
I’ll admit that some of the earmark cuts will hurt certain folks. I’ll also admit that a one-year moratorium is a drop in the bucket when compared to the overall deficit. But we have to start somewhere. And here is my favorite part:
In a joint statement released earlier this month, Sen. Robert Bryd, D-Va., and Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., the incoming chairmen of the Senate and House appropriations committees, said that the moratorium will remain in effect “until a reformed process is put in place” and that earmarks included in this year’s House and Senate bills will be eligible for consideration in 2008. They said the moratorium is the result of “fiscal mayhem” left over by the Republican Congress. “Republicans have spent years handing out billions upon billions of dollars in tax cuts to millionaires while shortchanging our national priorities,” Obey said. “It is going to take us years to get back on track.” The moratorium has the backing of President Bush, who called it “a good start” toward imposing fiscal discipline on Capitol Hill.
Robert Byrd and George W. Bush working together to get a reformed process to end earmarks! I would never anticipated this bipartisan effort from these two in particular.