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.


Blogger Ronald Reagan said...

Bill, just stumbled onto your blot. I'm linking you! Great work!


7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The BS regarding the NDIC has got to stop. The treatment given the Center by Administration operatives bent on hanging Murtha has been unfair and many times downright false. New information is now available on the following Op-Ed: Critics give false impression of NDIC’s vital task.

Stop the bashing. Get the facts.

9:28 AM  

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