Porkbusting Hero: Jeff Flake

Jeff Flake (R-AZ-6th District) is a Taxpayer Superhero as bestowed by Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW).

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today offered hearty congratulations to Taxpayer Superhero Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) after his first victory in the House yesterday to strip wasteful and egregious pork-barrel projects from spending bills.

During Thursday’s floor debate on the fiscal 2008 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act (H.R. 2829), the House approved Rep. Flake’s amendment to eliminate a $129,000 congressional earmark slated to go to an economic development initiative called “The Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree.” The project was submitted by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.). The final vote was 249-174, with 100 Democrats joining the majority voting in favor of the amendment. Rep. Flake offered a total of 19 amendments last year to eliminate earmarks and was defeated in each and every foray.

“Rep. Flake has been a leader in changing the culture of wasteful spending in the nation’s capital. Not coincidentally, CCAGW just released its 2006 Congressional Ratings and Rep. Flake was the only member of Congress to earn a 100 percent rating, making him Congress’s only taxpayer Superhero,” said CCAGW President Tom Schatz.
Did you read that? "The Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree". Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC-10th District) feels that $129,000 of our hard earned money should be spent so that some body, some group, his district, can do some project concerning "The Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree". I had to repeat that just so it sunk in.

Maybe Representative McHenry felt he needed to compete with Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC-5th District). She managed to wrangle $550,000 of our hard earned money for the Sparta Teapot Museum.
[...] Congresswoman Foxx secured the $550,000 in federal money for the Sparta Teapot Museum in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The money was part of a Transportation/Treasury/HUD appropriations bill.
But this is not about McHenry or Foxx. This is about Jeff Flake and pork. Did you catch the part about Flake being the only Congressman in the last year to receive a 100% rating? That means of 535 representatives and senators, he was the only one that did not have an earmark. The only one!

Then there's the fact that of 19 amendments Flake offered last year to cut an earmark, none of them passed. Not a single one!

The roll call vote on this amendment was 249-174. The vote by Republicans was 100-94. I find that the most disturbing; that 94 Republicans voted to keep the earmark for $129,000 for the perfect Christmas tree project. Ninety four Republicans!

Perusing the list, just some prominent names jumped out at me:

Republicans voting in favor of the amendment (to cut the earmark): Flake (of course), Bachmann, Boehner (Minority Leader), Hensarling, Pence, Tancredo, McCarthy (my Rep., thank goodness).
Republicans voting against the amendment (to keep the earmark): Foxx (go figure), Lewis (under investigation) Renzi (under investigation) Hunter (running for President!), Blunt (Minority Whip).

Folks, these people are willing to spend our money on anything. The only way it's going to stop is when you, the voter, tell them to stop. When you get your next paycheck, look at it hard. Don't just look at the net, the amount you brought home, look at that box that says FITW. Look at the dollar amount and ask yourself how much of that goes to teapot museums and perfect Christmas trees.

I'm not picking on North Carolina here. It just happened to present itself as a handy target. I could do this to any state, to almost any Congressman.

In the mean time, let's be thankful there is someone like Jeff Flake in Congress fighting this pork battle.