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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Momentum Grows in Congress to Swap Pork for Katrina Aid; MSM Editorial Pages, Columnists Also Getting on Board

The concept behind Porkbusters - brainchild of N.Z. Bear and Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds - is getting a big boost on Capitol Hill. Rep. Ron Lewis, R-KY, is circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter challenging fellow Members of Congress to join him in asking the House to adopt a one-year moratorium on all "non-defense earmarks." That's Washingtonese for "pork barrel projects."

Here's the text of the Lewis letter:

September 19, 2005

Moratorium on Earmarks:
Common Sense in Funding Reconstruction

Dear Colleague,

I am heartened by the generous response millions of Americans have shown in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Each day, we witness further evidence that the effects of this disaster are more profound and far-reaching than anything this nation has ever encountered.

We enter an immense rebuilding effort at a time when Congress is facing massive budget constraints. An already complex fiscal situation has now been amplified, and as legislators we are faced with the task of navigating unprecedented relief and reconstruction spending.

It is easy to identify broad revenues fixes and far-reaching program cuts that have little direct impact on our own districts. While this discussion is necessary and appropriate, this critical fiscal situation requires more: as Members of Congress, we must also be willing to consider sacrifices close to home.

I have included on reverse a letter to the Appropriations Committee requesting a one-year moratorium on all non-defense appropriations earmarks for Fiscal Year 2006. I ask that you join me in taking this small but necessary step to ensure that we have the financial resources to again make the Gulf Coast region whole. If you have any questions or would like to be added to the letter, please contact Alison Friesen at x53501.


Member of Congress

Bloggers who want to encourage the PorkBusters campaign forward should encourage readers to contact their congressmen and ask them if they are supporting the Ron Lewis pork moratorium petition to the House Appropriations Committee. Those who don't know who is their congressman can find out here.

The Porkbusters idea is also generating support in the MSM, thanks to efforts by the Blogosphere and The Heritage Foundation's distribution last week of a policy paper advocating redirecting to Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts the $25 billion worth of pork included in the recently passed transportation bill.

The Heritage effort is generating editorial support in the MSM. Among the dailies that have endorsed the idea in the past several days are: Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, Detroit News, LaCrosse (Wisc.) Tribune and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The Washington Post's "Think Tank Town" column also noted growing support for the Heritage proposal from some unusual sources, including some of the citizens of Bozeman, Montana. And members of the Republican Study Committee, the largest of the numerous officially recognized caucuses in the House, will announce tomorrow "Operation Offset," which will also be pressuring congressional leaders. Andrews Grossman of the Heritage Policy Blog has more details, including excerpts from a Roll Call report.