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In a very disappointing turn, yesterday House Republicans selected Rep. Jo Bonner of Alabama to the Appropriations Committee, instead of a reformer like Rep. Jeff Flake. It's a clear signal that, despite recent rhetoric, House Republicans haven't broken their spending addiction. Like too many members, Rep. Bonner has institutionalized pork requests. He even says on his web site that pork projects are "accomplishments" that he is "proud of". Here's the text, from his site, accessed last night:
"The other source of federal funding is the direct, or line-item, appropriation. The direct appropriation occurs when Congress bypasses the competitive review process and includes language in an appropriations bill that "directs" agencies to fund a specific project. There are significant restrictions on the use of direct appropriations, and most projects do not qualify. As a general rule, direct appropriations cannot be used for operating expenses. For example, if the state funding for a local museum is cut by 15%, then a request to make up the loss is not eligible.
"Direct appropriations must also have clearly defined accountability for the monies and a finite starting and ending point. The direct appropriation is very difficult to obtain as funding is extremely limited. However, it is not impossible, and I am proud of our accomplishments in steering funds through this method to many worthy south Alabama projects. [emphasis added] The deadline for FY08 appropration applications has passed.
"One of my many goals in Congress is to ensure the people of south Alabama get a significant return on their investment in the federal government (taxes). I am here to offer assistance in helping — where appropriate — to return to the people of the First District the tax dollars they send to Washington. Please feel free to contact my staff or me if we can be of assistance."