Virginia's two U.S. Senators, Jim Webb and his junior, Mark Warner, (click to contact), despite their protestations to the contrary — and sophistry about being "raging moderates" — proved they are not "fiscal conservatives" when they voted Tuesday night against a modest reform that would have banned earmarks for one year. But when you also have voted for a half-trillion dollars in new taxes and $1 trillion in new spending in a government takeover of the health care industry, what's several billion dollars more? The issue was an amendment by U.S. Senator Jim Demint (R-S.C.) to ban earmarks for one year. House Republicans last week adopted a policy as a caucus that no member would offer an earmark for a year until earmark reform could be worked out. House Democrats followed suit with a vague promise of their own to ban earmarks (but who needs an earmark when you can ram through a trillion-dollar health care takeover), but I digress. The vote was 68-29 against the Demint amendment, with 15 Republicans joining all but four Democrats (see the list) to defeat it. However, it was the first time a majority of Senate Republicans supported the measure. Politico.com reports on the vote here, in an article entitled "The Senate's proud porkers."
So, while their political brethren in Richmond went on a fiscal diet, actually cutting spending down to 2006 levels in the recently passed Virginia budget, Senators Warner and Webb continued to pig out in Washington. Should make them a hit at the annual Virginia Pork Festival in Emporia, should they attend. But some would say the pork festival is in Washington and is an on going affair — with Virginia's two senators among those having the most fun.
Senator Jim Demint asked Congress for a timeout on pork spending. Senators Webb and Warner, though, were having too much fun at the trough to stop.