I’m sympathetic to the oft-repeated saying that there are really three parties in Washington: Republicans, Democrats, and Appropriators. This situation is likely to be demonstrated this evening when Republican members of the Senate Appropriations Committee provide enough votes for Democratic Sen. Harry Reid to close off debate and proceed to final passage of the pork-laden $410 billion fy2009 omnibus appropriations bill.
Greasing the skids for bigger government will be almost $8 billion in earmarks contained in the bill. Fox News is pointing out that almost all of the Republican Senators expected or likely to support the Democratic measure stand to deliver quite a bit of pork to constituents and special interests. Not coincidentally, all of the senators named, except Sen. Snowe of Maine, are appropriators. As a matter of fact, if you look at the top 20 senators (both parties) in terms of dollars of earmarks secured for this bill, 15 are appropriators.
Bottom line: Appropriators love spending and they particularly love pork. Sen. Snowe just likes the government spending other people’s money.
**Update: Cloture was invoked on a 62-35 vote and the legislation subsequently passed by voice vote. Every single Democratic member of the Senate Appropriation Committee voted for cloture. Republican appropriators Sens. Cochran, Specter, Bond, Shelby, Alexander, and Murkowski voted yes; Sens. McConnell, Gregg, Bennett, Hutchison, Brownback, Collins, and Voinovich voted no. Thus, without the support of these Republican appropriators, the bill would have been effectively killed. Of the top 20 recipients of earmarks in the bill, only 2 — Sens. Inhofe and McConnell — voted no.