Republicans Help Save the Economic Development Administration

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Tuesday evening I blogged on a pending vote in the House on an amendment introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) to eliminate funding for the Economic Development Administration. Unfortunately, the amendment failed yesterday on a vote of 129-279. All 175 Democrats voting joined 104 Republicans in keeping the EDA alive.

A single Democrat voting to axe a government program would have been a shock. But congressional Republicans regularly extol the virtues of limited government and free markets. As Rep. Pompeo said in a statement, “If those who talk constantly about rolling back the unsustainable size and scope of the federal government are serious, then they will support my efforts to eliminate the EDA.” Well, 104 Republicans voted to continue spending taxpayer dollars on warmed-over subsidy program that’s been hanging around since the 1960s.

Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), for example, voted against the Pompeo amendment. But in a column she penned in April, Noem said “Our debt crisis is a result of Washington spending money it doesn’t have and letting our children and grandchildren pick up the tab.” Noem favors a Balance Budget Amendment and says that “Our government must come together and make the tough decisions to secure our nation’s prosperous future.” Really? Noem says tough decisions need to be made but she can’t even get behind the elimination of the EDA. Talk about chutzpah.

Noem and 85 other Republicans also voted against Rep. Ben Quayle’s (R-AZ) amendment that would have defunded a new corporate welfare program asked for by President Obama in his fiscal 2013 budget proposal. Thanks to the 86 Republicans in the House, instead of terminating programs, taxpayers will get a new one called the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia program.

Negativity aside, Representatives Pompeo and Quayle deserve kudos for actually trying to kill a federal program. Even though their efforts failed this time, they could bear fruit in the future if more members decide that they’d rather not take another vote exposing them to be complete hypocrites.