03 April 2008

Boehner, Earmarks, and Miami U

From the Miami Student:

When it comes to federal project funding, local colleges and universities in the tri-state area are millions of dollars ahead of Miami University.

Miami falls in Rep. John Boehner's (R-West Chester) district. Boehner, who is also the minority leader, has voiced his opposition to earmarks.

Rep. Geoff Davis (R-Hebron), and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Jim Bunning (R-Ky.)... sponsored five projects for Northern Kentucky University, which received a total of $1.5 million in earmark funding-- the most of any nearby university.

Although earmarks make up less than one percent of the federal budget, Marshall said, fiscal conservatives like Boehner see them as wasteful pork-barrel spending.

"Congressmen Boehner has never supported earmarks and has made that clear," said Jessica Towhey, Boehner's press secretary. "He has never requested and never accepted an earmark."

Since Boehner has a policy against earmarks, Miami now has to ask congressmen in other districts to sponsor their projects...

"The projects we put forward are partnerships, which benefit not only the university but the state of Ohio and the community," Thomas said.

Though he opposes earmarks... Boehner supports competitive grants since they illustrate that a particular project has merit. Towhey said Boehner writes letters of support for organizations that frequently apply for these competitive grants.

There are many examples to illustrate that earmarks are used irresponsibly and in that regard it's good that Boehner opposes them. But many are worthwhile, and a blanket opposition means worthwhile initiatives may go unfunded. Earmarks for education and R&D can be investments, not wasteful expenditure. They should be scrutinized for their potential to advance health, education, industry, etc., not their potential to irritate Grover Norquist.

This article, written when the GOP was seeking a new majority leader, reveals that Boehner is not the high-principled fiscal moralist he would want you to believe he is.

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