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January 06, 2007


Old Tom

Whatever turns out to be the case about Obey, the fact is that on its face this proposal is something that the GOP should have implemented long ago as a matter of principle. The fact that they did not is one of many reasons I am so bitterly disappointed in their stewardship of the Congress when they were in the majority. They let the country and their party down terribly, and they have properly paid a heavy price for it. I am just sickened by their performance.

AP(Accociated Plame)

Hey, it's David Obey and then it talks about Cardinals.....................

Earmarks did okay, but the Intelligence Committee 'ethics' thing just left............

KOS is getting pretty damn funny!


Whatever turns out to be the case about Obey, the fact is that on its face this proposal is something that the GOP should have implemented long ago as a matter of principle.

It should go further. What is the rationale behind any earmark?



Or they create a new system that resembles earmarks but in fact are not earmarks. After all they only promised to do away with earmarks. They never promised to never implement a parallel system.

What are earmarks? Direct funding demands by congress without attribution attached to bills.

Ban earmarks. Create a new system that's similar but called something else. Have the media run interference and shut down all discussion.

So what's new?

Other Tom

I don't much care whether the Dems are playing games or not, although certaingly I hope they are not. My point is, the Republicans should have done this for real while they had the chance. They were a horrible disappointment. I recall the first time I saw Dennis Hastert when he was announced as speaker: I had a profound sense of impending doom, and my instincts were unfortunately spot-on in this case. The GOP will be a long time recovering from this. Why should anyone believe anything any Republican says about fiscal restraint?


Incumbancy is incompatible with fiscal restraint.


Someone needs to inform Senator Byrd about the new earmark system. I'm sure he'll be all ears and highly in favor of it.
Excuse me if I remain unimpressed.
Dems need to accomplish something substantial. Like confiscating the 90 grand in Jefferson's freezer for starters.



Pelosi wants to ban abortion


If Democrats are going to step up and be the party of fiscal restraint, I welcome them.
I don't want fiscal restraint to be paygo, though. I don't want them to feel they can just implement a new tax everytime they feel like spending.

I have a hard time believing they won't just find another way to spend money on earmark-like things, but we shall see.


Let me add that the last Congress did increase taxes for one group of taxpayers, very quietly.

For the first time, all Americans living abroad will be subject to tax on all income earned while living overseas. Previously, there were no taxes on income up to $80,000 so many teachers, etc didn't have to pay. Very few countries impose any income tax on their expats.
So it isn't like the Republican congress protected all groups of middle income people from higher taxes, and this was particularly sneaky.



The airline I work for has 4 large pilot bases in the States, and one small base in the Philippines. The P.I., though full of wonderful people, unfortunately is saddled with considerable infrastructure problems; healthcare, sanitation, security, etc, that are easily avoided by simply staying based in the U.S. A large incentive to get experienced international pilots to base out of the P.I. has been the Federal Income Tax deferment you mention. That incentive now gone, the consequence is that many experienced senior international pilots are bailing out heading back stateside, and vacancies are being filled by new hires off the street who naturally are stuck at the bottom of the seniority list. I imagine we'll muddle through, and that these new folks will catch on pretty quick, but a new guy/gal sitting in the seat sure won't immediately replace the savvy or language skills or situational awareness of somebody who's been whipping around the typhoons of Asia for a couple decades. I hope it doesn't negatively effect much more critical jobs, such as civilian security contractors in war zones, or some of the other important civilian billets you're probably aware of over there. Thanks for bringing up the topic.


Speaking of unintended consequences, it seems possible that the nature of the Democratic majority in the House will likely have to rely far more on reaching across the aisle than the Republicans ever needed to. This being the case, taking earmarks off the table will forestall their use in horsetrading. Will the Democrats be forced to make more substantive policy concessions for lack of earmarking cajolery?


Excuse me, but haven't the Democrats broken every single pledge they made already?
From the 9/11 Commission recomendations, to ethics, to bipratisanship.
Now even the 5 day work week is gone, their taking Monday off to watch football.

Let's be real. Nothing has changed in Congress.


The new law, however, does contain some good news. The foreign earned- income exclusion, which was under threat of extinction just three years ago, was maintained and will be indexed to U.S. inflation as of the 2006 tax year. That means U.S. taxpayers will owe no tax on their first $82,400 of income earned abroad this year, up from $80,000 in 2005. Indexing had been scheduled to start in the 2008 tax year.

On the negative side, the new law caps the exclusion for housing allowances - rent, utilities other than telephone, property insurance, occupancy taxes, maintenance and furniture rental - that U.S. corporations often provide to executives sent overseas. The cap is calculated as 30 percent of the foreign earned-income exclusion, minus the 16 percent that it is assumed would be paid in the United States. For 2006, it is set at $11,586; under the old law, the exclusion was virtually unlimited.

Jim K.

I don't see that this is such a great thing. So they slightly harm their national reputation but boost it at home, which is where they need to get reelected. Robert Byrd is proud of his record, and his voters evidently love him.


From Drudegreport:
Sun Jan 07 2007 15:03:38 ET

Democrats ran to expand the work week in the House to 5 days.

But guess how long that lasted?

Not even one week!

"Culture Shock on Capitol Hill: House to Work 5 Days a Week" front-paged the WASHINGTON POST in December.

Majority leader Steny Hoyer said members of the House will be expected in the Capitol for votes each week by 6:30 p.m. Monday and will finish their business about 2 p.m. Friday.

Explained the POST: "Forget the minimum wage. Or outsourcing jobs overseas. The labor issue most on the minds of members of Congress yesterday was their own: They will have to work five days a week starting in January."

But on the morning after the night before, on the first full week of the new congress, Hoyer has pulled back from his vow!

A Hoyer press release obtained by the DRUDGE REPORT boldly declares: "Monday, January 8, 2007: The House is not in session."

100 hours...starting...soon


You are right, but it's odd because I just had a finance guy tell me otherwise, and I had looked it up. I see what they ended up doing, they capped living expenses and raised the tax rate over the exempted amount. So it is still a tax hike on the middle class, albeit a smaller group. And I still find it sneaky.


maryrose - My guess is that if the package for earmark reform contains the Robert Byrd Spendthrift Memorial and the Ted Stevens No Island Left Behind Grant that it will do just fine in the Senate.


I've got an old link to a WAPO article that might give you some clues however the link appears to be dead:


If someone has access to the wapo archives or can find a google cached link of that page the last 3 paragraphs are helpful in understanding the Dems approach to earmark reform.


This is what I want to know, is the Bridge to Nowhere actually going to be built?

If I were a Republican, perish the thought, and I was looking for a reason why we lost the 2006 elections so decisively... I'd be asking what the Alaskan Senator is doing to rescue the Party now that he has his Bridge.

Bruce Hayden

In the Senate, it isn't just Senator "Pork" Byrd, but also the new Majority Leader, "Dirty Harry" Reid. He has already benefitted from a federal land swap, but appears slated to benefit again from a new bridge between Laughlin, NV and Bull Head City, AZ. He apparently owns land that would increase in value if the bridge is completed, the bridge isn't really needed, but is being federally funded anyway.

Of course, in Pelosi's defense, she really can't promise that the Senate Democrats will clean up their act, because they are highly unlikely to do so, esp. as many of them have ultra-safe seats and are unlikely to lose them, regardless.



Black is white, up is down... Karl is Truely Golden.

That's why we're in this totally successful war in Iraq... the "factiness" says we're winning and I... believe it. (?)

There are no differences, just ask the families of people who died for a fake plan, and will die for Presidential hubris, just ask an honest economist how much this fraud will cost... will he say there are no differences?

If you have a moment, try and think about what the US could do with all the money that has been (how many billions is it, if you can find an honest accounting by the White House let us know) and will be spent in Iraq.

Maybe it should be spent in your small town.


Maybe it should be spent in your small town.

Or maybe it should have never been taken from the taxpayers in the first place?


Pofarmer: Agreed!
If somehow providing a safe strong country in the Middle East in Iraq's unique geographical position is possible ; I would much rather my tax dollars go for securing world peace in the M.E than funding abortions or for stem cell research.


The real question in regard to earmarks is whether Bob Byrd can now finish redeploying the C.I.A. to West Virginia.

Thomas Jackson

Anyone taking the Democrats seriously about reducing spending is just demonstrating their gulliability. Spending will increase massively making the GOP look like pikers.

The corruption, inefficiency, incompetence will bloom in ways we have forgotten after 12 years. Yet in 2008 will the media beat this drum?

Besides does it matter when it appears the GOP will annoint another Bushie like McCain?

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