DeMint on Earmarks
There should be no mistaking America’s current appetite for federal spending and debt. Polls suggest that we’ve had more than our fill, and candidates are crafting their message to match our mood. But what about spending on projects close to home that we desperately need?
That is the debate South Carolinians are having with their junior Senator Jim DeMint. DeMint has refused to support an appropriations request made by fellow South Carolina Republican Lindsay Graham for $400,000 to fund an Army Corps of Engineers feasibility study on deepening the port of Charleston. Deepening the port is necessary to accommodate massive cargo ships from Asia that will reach the East coast after the expansion of the Panama Canal is complete in 2014. The State Ports Authority and the Charleston Metro Chamber are among the proponents of the project.
Senate appropriations subcommittee chairman Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND) has thusfar denied funding request saying, “It is our general policy that if there is not unity among senators from a state about funding requests, we would not proceed to fund it.” DeMint has accused the subcommittee of playing politics with the request, but stands firm on his pledge to oppose all earmarks.
What do you think? Should earmark spending be opposed at all costs or are they merely the reality of governing? Add your comments.