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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Mr. Smith is Back in Washington and His Name is Tom Coburn

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, has done the unthinkable and proposed an amendment to the Treasury, Transportation and HUD appropriations bill to transfer the $220 million previously earmarked by Rep. Don Young, R-AK, to build "the bridges to nowhere" pork barrel project in Alaska to help pay for the reconstruction of the "Twin Spans" bridge in Louisiana.

Here's why Coburn has done the unthinkable. Members just don't challenge each other's pork barrel projects, no matter what. It's ... just ... not ... done. You go along to get along. The Doctor from Oklahoma is the first to stand up and say "No" to another Member's favored pork barrel.

And Don Young is not just another Member. He's the GOP biggest fan of loading up the folks back home with pork. He crowed to the media about the recently passed $286 billion highway bill that he "stuffed it like a turkey."

Coburn's "Dear Colleague" letter explains the details of his proposal. The Coburn amendment is a masterful piece of truth in legislation that could set in motion a movement to end log rolling in Congress. This could become an historic turning point in the effort to restore accountability and honesty in Congress and the rest of government.

RedState.org's Mike Krempasky puts it this way:

"Make NO mistake - the establishment Republicans are terrified of this bill. The chutzpah of the little people demanding an end to one of the most immoral acts of Congress - earmarked pork spending - has got some in quite the tizzy. Word is that some are trying to stop the Coburn Amendment from even reaching the floor for a vote."

The Blogosphere just might be the difference between the Coburn amendment being buried by legislative legerdermain or being brought to the floor of the U.S. Senate for an up-or-down vote that could make or break many political careers.

Time to tell your congressman and senators what you think about the Coburn amendment. If you don't know who they are, go here, enter your zip code in the appropriate place and you will be told your U.S. Representative's name and contact information. Go here for the same information for your state's two U.S. Senators.

Then email them, call them, write them letters. And tell your friends, family and neighbors to do the same. This could be a defining moment for America.

HT: Instapundit for the Coburn links.

UPDATE: 10/20/05

Yes, yes, I know, in the movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," Jimmy Stewart was trying to get more federal money for a Scout camp. That was in the New Deal era. Now Coburn is updating the symbol. We have come a long way since FDR!

UPDATE: 10/21/05

Welcome Instapundit, Powerline readers. You will also find these Coburn posts useful:

Senate Rejects Three Coburn Amendments
Is Tom Coburn Tough Enough?