(CNN) – They’re hard-charging, compromise-damning members of Congress, and they’ve changed the debate in Washington over the size and spending of the government.
In recent days, Republican hard-liners in the debt ceiling talks have been vociferous in their rhetoric.
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(Top left corner: Kevin Yoder; Center: Joe Walsh; Lower Left: Mike Lee; Lower Right: Tim Griffin)
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Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh (D) opposed yesterday’s $410 billion omnibus spending bill because it was “bloated” and included $7.7 billion in earmarks. “At a time when so many American families are tightening their belts to make ends meet, Congress should be as equally committed to living within its means,” he said in a statement.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called the spending bill a “missed opportunity” and urged President Obama to veto it. “The bill costs far too much for a government that should be watching every dime,” he said.
And Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe (R) said in opposition to the legislation: “Each and every time, whether a Republican or Democratic initiative, I have refused to go along with big government spending or big government solutions.”
But as it turns out, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, Bayh had four solo earmarks attached to his name in the legislation, worth $2.7 million; McConnell had 36 totaling $51 million; and Inhofe had 34 earmarks worth $53 million.
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A few years ago, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma suggested taking money earmarked for a notoriously extravagant “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska and using it for reconstruction in Louisiana. Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, a fellow Republican, angrily declared, “This is the first time I have seen any attempt by any senator to treat my state…differently from any other state.”
In a tirade that included threats to behave like “a wounded bull on the floor of the Senate,” to “be taken out of here on a stretcher,” and to “resign from this body,” Stevens’ insistence that all he wanted was equal treatment for Alaska may have been the least believable thing he said. During the last four decades, no one has done more than Stevens to ensure that Alaska is treated unequally, receiving far more in federal spending than it pays in taxes.
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From North County Times:
SAN DIEGO — Showing no emotion and still denying the charges, former defense contractor Brent Wilkes was sentenced Tuesday to 12 years for bribing U.S. Rep Randy “Duke” Cunningham with cash, lavish vacations and evenings with prostitutes.
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