Monday, March 5, 2007

3 Cheers for SC Senator Jim DeMint!

Robert Novak has an interesting piece in the Post today about a few congressmen going against the grain and taking care of their own problems before they get out of hand. The jist is that Senator DeMint and Senator Clyburn of Oklahoma stopped a wasteful spending project of another Senator. Here is the kicker. They are all republican. Not only is it rare that any Congressperson gets in the way of another's pet project but it is all the more rare that it happens within the same party.

Even more encouraging is that Senator DeMint is now and was before know as a Senator that crusades against pork barrel spending. Now, if we just had 99 more of those.



A Senator's Railroad No-Brainer

Monday, March 5, 2007; Page A15

The Federal Railroad Administration handed a rare victory to the American taxpayer last week by denying a questionable $2.3 billion loan application by the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern (DM&E) Railroad. What makes this news of special interest is the paramount role Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) played in boosting the loan. Here is a cautionary tale of political life in Washington and how it corrupts.

Thune guided through Congress legislative changes that made the loan possible. But an assessment that DM&E was a poor credit risk was shared by two other conservative senators -- Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Jim DeMint of South Carolina -- who took the extraordinary step of advocating rejection of a colleague's pet project. Making matters worse, Thune worked as a paid lobbyist for the South Dakota-based railroad before his election to the Senate and has received political contributions from company executives...

Whether this qualifies as an earmark is a matter of opinion. Coburn and DeMint contend that the loan is about policy. Normally, when senators dislike a colleague's protected project, they follow the chamber's politesse and swallow their objections. Not Coburn and DeMint, who since their election in 2004 have waged war on pork...

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