Porkers Get the Boot

By Novak, Robert | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 12, 2006 | Go to article overview
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Porkers Get the Boot

Novak, Robert, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Three of the powerful Republican "Cardinals" -- the House Appropriations subcommittee chairmen who dispense federal pork -- were defeated in the midterm elections.

The losing Cardinals were Reps. Don Sherwood of Pennsylvania (Foreign Operations subcommittee), John Sweeney of New York (Treasury-Transportation-HUD) and Charles Taylor of North Carolina (Interior). Rep. Anne Northup of Kentucky, another senior pork- dispensing appropriator, also lost.

Two other defeated Republican senators, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Jim Talent of Missouri, voted for notorious pork projects: the "Bridge to Nowhere" in Alaska and the "Railroad to Nowhere" in Mississippi.

Fast-tracking Gates

One reason for hurrying Senate confirmation of Robert Gates as secretary of Defense through the lame-duck session is to avoid confrontation with an old enemy: James Webb, who will be a Democrat senator from Virginia in the new Congress starting in January.

During President Reagan's second term, Gates and Webb clashed as colleagues. Webb as secretary of the Navy objected to plans by Gates, then deputy national security adviser, for U.S. warships to protect oil platforms in the Persian Gulf.

Rahm's obstacle

Ambitions of Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois to be majority whip, third-ranking in the House Democrat hierarchy, were torpedoed by Congressional Black Caucus insistence on the post going to Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina.

Emanuel, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman, is celebrated as architect of his party's return to House control. But there has been no black representative in a top congressional leadership position in more than 14 years, though five blacks are in line to be committee chairmen.

Emanuel agreed to succeed Clyburn in the lesser post of House Democratic Caucus chairman.

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