Thursday, August 02, 2007

Jack Murtha's At It Again

Jack Murtha, the Sultan of Swine, the Prince of Pork, is at it again, to the tune of $150.5 million in 48 separate earmarked appropriations in the Defense Appropriations bill that will be taken up by the House tomorrow.

That represents just under 5 percent of the earmarked appropriations in the entire bill.

Membership has its privileges, as the ad says, but Chairmanships apparently have it all. Instead of getting 1/435th of all the pork in the bill, Murtha's chairmanship of the Defense Approps subcommittee gets him one dollar of pork for every twenty dollars of swine to be found.

That's not a bad take.

Put another way, if every Member of Congress were able to pull as much pork out of that one bill as Jack Murtha has, the pork alone would balloon from $3,070,000,000 to $65,467,500,000.

That's $65 billion, with a "B."

Thank God there's only one Jack Murtha.

To read more, see Roxana Tiron's piece in today's The Hill.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Will the House reprimand Jack Murtha?

Check out this YouTube post by the National Republican Congressional Committee:

And then ask yourself:

Will Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats live up to their campaign promises to "drain the swamp" and make this "the most honest, ethical, and open Congress in history?"

We'll find out later today, when the House takes up a resolution reprimanding U.S. Rep. Jack Murtha for threatening to kill any defense appropriations earmarked by U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers "now and forever" -– a clear violation of Clause 16 of House Rule XXIII, which reads

"A Member … may not condition the inclusion of language to provide funding for a congressional earmark … on any vote cast by another Member."

Mr. Murtha's threat, says Mr. Rogers, was the direct result of Mr. Rogers' attempt last week to strike a $23 million earmark in the Intelligence Authorization bill for the National Drug Intelligence Center, one of Mr. Murtha's favored pork projects. Conveniently located in Johnstown, Pennsylvania -– the largest city in Mr. Murtha's district -– the NDIC employs 400 of his constituents, and has sucked some $400 million out of the federal trough since its creation 14 years ago.

Why was Mr. Rogers trying to strike the funding for the NDIC?

Because, in the words of a report released last year by the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, the NDIC's budget is "an expensive and duplicative use of scarce federal drug enforcement resources," and the NDIC itself "was never able to fulfill its original mission of centralizing and coordinating drug intelligence, given its remote location and the unwillingness of the other Federal agencies to contribute significant information."

It turns out, you see, that the Drug Enforcement Agency has another drug intelligence center, located in El Paso, Texas –- somewhat closer to the nexus of illegal narcotics trafficking than Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

… All of which led the Bush Administration this year to include in its 2008 budget proposal no funds for continued operations at the NDIC, but instead $16 million to shut it down …

Which is what set Mr. Murtha a-scramble.

But it seems that Mr. Murtha's threat against Mr. Rogers -– which, interestingly, has not been denied by Mr. Murtha -– isn't the only violation of House Rules in this episode.

According to a report in this morning's The Hill, Mr. Murtha's earmark request to restore funding for the NDIC was submitted five weeks after the deadline, and was not communicated to the Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra -– which failure is itself a violation of the Rules of the House.

So the choice before House Democrats is clear: they can live up to their promises to reform the Congress, or they can continue to back the ethically-challenged Mr. Murtha one more time.

As to the outcome of today's vote … your guess is as good as ours.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Defense official contradicts Murtha

Jack's back.

And he's up to his old tricks.

Jack Murtha – whose reputation for stretching the truth and making wildly exaggerated claims is legendary – has just put his foot in his mouth.


Two days ago, Murtha told the press that General David Petraeus, the commander of Multi-National Forces-Iraq, had not met with Members of Congress during his recent visit to Washington.

On Tuesday, appearing on his favorite cable news talk show, MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews," Murtha said of General Petraeus's recent visit, "They bring Petraeus back – purely political move. Petraeus comes back here. He doesn't talk to any of us. He only talks to the news media and so forth trying to sell this program."

But that's not true.

Not only did General Petraeus meet and conduct two briefings for Members of Congress, he briefed Jack Murtha PERSONALLY.

And the two briefings he conducted for Members of the House and Senate were two of the most widely attended operations intelligence briefings in recent memory – with 250 Representatives and 86 Senators in attendance.

Read the full story for yourself.

When, oh when, is Jack Murtha going to tell the truth?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

McCain and the Kissinger Endorsement

Two decades ago, I left my job at The Heritage Foundation to join the 1988 Bush campaign as the liaison to the conservative movement. Perhaps in the future I'll have more to write about my experiences during that campaign; in the meantime, let me tease you with just one -- the story of the Henry Kissinger non-endorsement endorsement.

(Not coincidentally, the story happens to be of interest right now because just two days ago, John McCain proudly accepted and then touted his endorsement for President by the very same Henry Kissinger.)

My friends over at Human Events were kind enough to post the piece to their web site this morning, so you can click here to read it in full.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Fred Thompson: National Statesman

Friday, March 09, 2007

Grassroots 1, Hillary 0

Friday, November 17, 2006

Best News of the Day: Tom Cole as NRCC Chairman!

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) has just been elected Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

This is the best news of the day, for both the Republican Party and the Republic.

I had the privilege and the good fortune to work at the Republican National Committee during the 2000 cycle, when Tom Cole was the Chief of Staff. I can personally attest to the fact that Tom has what it takes to lead House Republicans back to the majority -- if there's a way, he will find it.

It isn't just his grace under fire, his leadership and management skills, or his vast experience and knowledge of the campaign arena that has me so enthused today about his election, though; far more important is the knowledge that Tom Cole is a good man at a time when the Republican Party needs good men and women to take leadership roles.

Congratulations, Tom, and best wishes for continued success.

Next Up: Alcee Hastings.

In a post a few days ago, I warned of the likely ascension of U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) to the Chairmanship of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Congressman Hastings, you will recall, was impeached and convicted and kicked off the federal bench in 1989 for his role in a bribery scandal.

National Review's Byron York has the full details.

Happy, Happy, Fake Happy, Happy ... REALLY Not Happy.

This New York Times photo of Rahm Emanuel, John Larson, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Jack Murtha after House Democrats finished selecting their leaders for the 110th Congress -- a leadership election in which Speaker-To-Be Nancy Pelosi took it on the chin and The Man Who Would Not Be Majority Leader Jack Murtha took it in the gut -- says a lot more than a thousand words.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Another Thought on Murtha's Defeat.

Last night, less than 18 hours before House Democrats met to choose their leaders, Jack Murtha was interviewed by Chris Matthews on MSNBC. Asked if he was going to win, Murtha replied, "We've got the votes."


86 of them, to be precise -- 32 votes shy of the 118 needed to secure victory.

Jack Murtha now will, in his words, go back to "this little subcommittee that I have." Which is a reference, of course, to the fact that he will now assume the chairmanship of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, which writes the single largest annual appropriations bill in the government -- roughly $450 billion per year.

A suggestion: someone should make sure that the calculator Mr. Murtha used to count votes in his race for Majority Leader isn't the same one he uses to calculate the Defense Approps bill.