Wednesday, January 21, 2009

McCaskill Questions LaHood On Earmarks

It was smooth sailing for former U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood at his Transportation Secretary confirmation hearing Wednesday -- except for Claire, reports Chicago's Daily Herald.
The Hill reports LaHood endured "aggressive questioning" from McCaskill.
"Clearly there is some robbing Peter to pay Paul that goes on," she said. "How do you view your job in terms of bringing more transparency to the process?," McCaskill asked LaHood.
"The longtime Republican congressman from Peoria got rave reviews from most lawmakers, although Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill pressured him on earmarks," reports the Herald.
For years, LaHood has secured millions of dollars in earmarks for his Illinois district. Citizens Against Government Waste has dubbed him "Porker of the Month."

"President Obama has made it clear in his economic stimulus bill there will be no earmark money," LaHood told McCaskill, adding it's up to members of Congress to police the earmark process. Referring to the upcoming highway reauthorization bill, historically a repository of pork, he noted, "if it doesn't have one earmark it won't cost me any heartburn."


"McCaskill said she is worried about the prospect of earmarks in the massive highway bill that lawmakers will begin writing this year. Her time in Washington, she said, has shown her that earmarks often go to the districts or states with the most senior members of Congress, not necessarily the most worthy projects."

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