Shelby now top GOP appropriator
WASHINGTON — Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, a defender of earmarks, is the new top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, where he'll have an even greater say in how federal dollars are spent, causing some taxpayer watchdogs to grumble.
The slot opened when Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi became the senior GOP member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
Senate Republicans gave him a seat on the coveted committee when he switched parties in 1994, and Shelby has showered the state with federal money ever since — mostly for defense and aerospace projects, and medical, science and engineering facilities at colleges.
As vice chairman, he'll hold sway over all corners of the federal budget except entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare. Congress' ban on earmarks persists, so members can no longer singlehandedly direct millions of federal dollars to specific projects in their states.
One taxpayer watchdog group said Congress should focus on the federal debt, spending cuts and the debt ceiling, not reinstating earmarks.
“It's a terrible time to bring back earmarks,” said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense. “We can't afford ... to be just funding good or nice-to-have projects. They need to be the best and most important,” Ellis said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Highway Patrol: 8 dead, 10 injured when Florida van crashes
- Despite high gas costs, Northeast resistant to pipelines
- Johnstown pair among 5 killed in S.C. crash
- Boston police officer improving after surgery to remove bullet near ear
- Starbucks drops ‘Race Together’ coffee cups
- Global warming is slowing down the circulation of the oceans — with potentially dire consequences
- Mining for tourists? A dubious economic savior in Appalachia
- Pence: ‘Not going to change’ religious freedom law
- Before leak, NSA mulled ending phone program
- Doctors push end-of-life care talks
- 2 bodies found at site of gas explosion in NYC apartments