Flake Bill Would Spotlight Big Spenders

Conservative Rep. Jeff Flake (R.-Ariz.) plans to introduce a bill that will give members of the House of Representatives a chance to terminate funding for pork barrel projects inserted into the conference report for the 2003 omnibus appropriations bill.

"What I’m going to be doing in the next couple of weeks is putting a rescission bill together," Flake told HUMAN EVENTS. "A lot of [congressmen] said that there were a lot of good things in the bill (H.J.Res 2), and that justified voting for the bad stuff. Well, what the rescission bill would do is say, hey, let’s take out the bad stuff. Let’s remove it and then still give the President the flexibility to fund these priorities if he sees them as priorities. But otherwise, that money would instead go to the war effort."

Flake said his bill would effectively give Congress a "line-item veto" on the bad items in the original bill.

Flake said he was particularly upset that the 2,100 page omnibus bill emerged from a closed-door House-Senate conference committee-containing billions in new earmarked spending-just hours before the final vote, giving congressmen no time to figure out what they were really voting on.

"That’s by design," Flake said. "If they give us a couple of days to look at it, then we’ll discover, like we did today, that there was $800,000 for the Grammy Foundation." Flake said that this earmark was just one of many that members may vote against if given a chance. "I hope to give members a chance to put their money where their mouth is on the pork," he said.

Flake cited a Citizens Against Government Waste study showing that the number of pork projects has grown six-fold over the last five years.


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