Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gop Promises vs. Practices

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gop Promises vs. Practices

Article excerpt

THE "revolution" is over.

Newt Gingrich was hoping to be the Emiliano Zapata of a congressional army of Republican hard-liners. This group was going to come in and change America once and for all. Out would go pork-barrel deals that cost Americans billions of dollars a year. In would come a sensible government that would be fair and responsible.

That was the talk they talked. It's a different story when you look at the walk they've walked.

Time magazine last week documented case after case where right-wing congressmen came into office last year and did exactly what they said they wouldn't: They brought the pork home to their districts.

Congressmen such as Mark Neumann of Wisconsin. Neumann, who painted himself as a reformer during last year's campaign, was quick to make sure that the defense spending bill this year prevented any company that used foreign parts from bidding on generators for certain Navy submarines. That move gave Coltec Industries, which happens to be in his district, an edge over lower-priced competitors and riled the Navy, which said the new regulation would mean more expensive and less effective submarines.

Or others, such as Congressmen Jim Bunn and Wes Cooley, both of Oregon. They refused to go along with budget-balancing legislation until $155 million had been restored for their state's Medicaid plan.

Still others have fought battles for their states' farm subsidies and other parochial interests that have cost taxpayers countless dollars.

The piece goes on to say that GOP campaign chairman Bill Paxon is proud that the average Republican freshman got $123,000 out of political donors in his or her first six months of office, considerably more than that raised by all Republicans. Half of that came from political action committees, the very committees that so many of these congressmen set out to ban.

What does it mean? It means that many Republican congressmen are saying that the Contract On America, oops, Contract With America, is OK for everyone but themselves.

Now that Republicans are in the majority in the House and Senate, issues such as campaign reform are taking a back seat, even though they were major issues during last year's campaign. …

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