Dr. Coburn Questions Democrat Hypocrisy on Pork
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement regarding reports that the Senate Democratic Caucus has issued a "key point" that "Republicans' misplaced priorities in Congress built a bridge to nowhere in Alaska
"Senate Democrats can't have it both ways. They can't campaign against pork projects like Alaska's Bridge to Nowhere' and, at the same time, vote to create and expand those projects," Dr. Coburn said.
Nine Republicans but only four Democrats voted for a recent Coburn amendment to block funding for Alaska's Bridges to Nowhere' and divert $125 million from those projects to help rebuild a bridge in Louisiana that was damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Those Democrats included Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA). (Roll Call vote #262 on the Coburn amendment to H.R. 3058, the Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act of 2006.)
Moreover, last night, all but two Democrats and two Republicans voted for an appropriations bill that actually appropriated more money to one of Alaska's Bridges to Nowhere.' Only Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) voted against a plan to spend $500,000 on an Army Corps of Engineers study of the Knik Bridge Crossing in Alaska, which has already received $229 million. (Roll Call vote #321 on H.R. 2419, the Energy and Water Appropriations Act of 2006.)
"No Democrat has actually offered legislation to eliminate pork. In fact, Senator Reid (D-NV) told the Washington Times that he really isn't into cutting right now,' which means he believes the federal government is operating at peak efficiency and can't be cut back. The more pressing problem, according to many Senate Democrats, is not pork or wasteful Washington spending, but low tax rates," Dr. Coburn said.
"The reality is that both parties are responsible for ridiculous pork projects and out-of-control spending, although more Republicans than Democrats are casting tough votes to cut waste. It is absurd for Democrats to portray themselves as helpless victims. This rhetoric doesn't weaken Republicans, it weakens our republic," Dr. Coburn said.