The following was cross-posted at www.fiscalaccountability.org:
Remember the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users from 2005? Yes, that was the bill that brought us what probably is the most notorious earmark – the Bridge to Nowhere.
We’re now learning that James Oberstar, the chairman of the very committee the 2005 transportation reauthorization act originated from – the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee – is moving backwards on a new earmark transparency standard set by the House Appropriations Committee.
The Chairman of the Appropriations Committee David Obey (D-Wis.) earlier this year had required that members post a link to their earmark requests on their Congressional website by the time they made them for them to be considered. However, Oberstar seems to have no desire to apply the same standard. Consider this, via Roll Call:
Instead, Oberstar set a May 14 deadline for Members to submit requests and encouraged them to post the requests on their Web sites, but he stopped short of setting a mandatory deadline.“We are not giving them a hard deadline [or stipulating] we won’t consider them until they are posted,” said Jim Berard, communications director for the committee. “Our style is bit different than Mr. Obey’s, but our results will be the same.”
Not only does the second part of that statement not make any sense, as Adam Hughes from OMB Watch points out:
Sorry – quick follow-up Mr. Bernard. How exactly is not requiring earmark requests to be disclosed under the transportation reauthorization the same as requiring earmark requests to be disclosed in appropriations bills?
It is also quite disconcerting in light of the committee’s history of stuffing the reauthorization bill like a turkey.
Photo Credit: **Maurice**