Johnson seeks to eliminate earmarks from omnibus

Empower Wisconsin | Dec. 22, 2022

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — Calling earmarks the “gateway drug to massive deficit spending,” U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) has introduced an amendment to eliminate the political trough feed from the omnibus spending bill.

The estimated $1.65 trillion package is expected to see a vote in both houses yet this week to avoid a threatened government shutdown.

Earmarks total $9.8 billion, a sliver of the massive fiscal year spending plan. But Johnson and other fiscal hawks say the special expenditures are unnecessarily adding to an untenable debt.

“This is the gateway drug to the massive deficit spending, to the mortgaging of our children’s futures. It has to stop, which is why I’m going to offer an amendment to eliminate all those earmarks in this massive omnibus spending bill,” the senator said at a press conference with Sens. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Mike Lee (Utah), Mike Braun (Ind.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

Johnson noted the 4,000-plus page bill is filled with thousands of individual pet projects, with equal opportunity offenders on both sides of the aisle.

“It’s interesting to note on the Republican side, we actually have a conference resolution that we don’t support earmarks. Well, we’re supporting over $4 billion worth. Democrats are getting $5.4 billion worth of earmarks,” he said.

House Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) bragged the omnibus “fulfills 98% of Democratic member requests in the House … for 3,213 Democratic projects.”

The spending bill is packed with myriad woke and far left agenda items. As the Washington Examiner reported, there’s something for every lefty:

  1. $1.2 million for “ LGBTQIA+ Pride Centers ” and another $1.2 million for “ support services for DACA recipients ” (aka helping illegal aliens with taxpayer funds) at San Diego Community College.
  2. $477,000 for the  Equity Institute  in Rhode Island to indoctrinate teachers with “antiracism virtual labs.”
  3. $1 million for  Zora’s House  in Ohio, a “coworking and community space” for “women and gender-expansive people of color.”
  4. $3 million for the  American LGBTQ+ Museum  in New York City.
  5. $3.6 million for a  Michelle Obama Trail  in Georgia.
  6. $750,000 for “ LGBT and Gender Non-Conforming housing ” in Albany, New York.
  7. $2 million for the “ Great Blacks in Wax ” museum in Baltimore.
  8. $856,000 for an “ LGBT Center ” in New York.
  9. $750,000 for the “ TransLatin@ Coalition ” to provide “workforce development programs and supportive services for Transgender and Gender nonconforming and Intersex (TGI) immigrant women in Los Angeles.”
  10. $2 million for “ MLK Labor ” in Washington, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO that  expelled Seattle police officers  from union ranks.
  11. $956,000 for “ The Equity Incubator at the Universities at Shady Grove ” in Maryland.
  12. $791,200 for “ equitable energy resilience and EV infrastructure ” in Sonoma, California.

“These types of woke projects have no place in the federal budget. House Republicans could have banned the corrupt practice of earmarking,’ wrote Washington Examiner columnist Matthew Dickerson. “But the GOP agreed to keep the pork money flowing with a 158-52 vote in November.”

With that fact in mind, it’s unlikely the big spenders will consider Johnson’s amendment. They’ve got too much to lose. A Capitol source on Wednesday said it appeared Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is just going to run out the clock to kill amendment votes.

Johnson pointed to the historic high inflation sapping Americans’ buying power, in large part thanks to blowout federal spending over the past two years. He noted a dollar at the start of President Joe Biden’s administration is now worth 88 cents.

“Something’s got to give,” the senator said. “At some point, we do hit a debt crisis – and I would argue, you know, 7 percent-plus inflation with really no ending in sight is certainly an inkling of what that debt crisis is going to look like, and how that is going to devastate Americans in all areas of the income spectrum.”

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