Editor: This newspaper recently reported that Rep. Jennifer Wexton is bringing home almost $5 million in federal funding for projects in Loudoun County. Readers should know where the money is coming from.
Call them what you want—earmarks, pork, “Community Project Funding,” politically-self-interested-cash-grabs—these funnels for federal funding have been resurrected by this year’s Congress after being dead for 10 years. In this year’s budget, politicians will grab money from taxpayers all over the country for their pet projects in their home districts. It’s how congressional members from Oregon, for example, can use taxpayer money from Virginia, and every other state, to buy votes back home by building bridges, walking paths, or teapot museums (real example). This is where the pork is coming from.
Loudouners can cheer for their new Pedestrian Crossing at Lawson Road, and other projects. But they should also remember that politicians all over the country are spending their money on projects like a new dog park in Montebello, CA, and a trolley system in Canandaigua, NY, to name a couple. Some of these projects may be needed in their communities, but money for trolleys in New York shouldn’t come from a fisherman in Alaska.
In total, members racked up the earmark requests to almost $17 billion. The distribution of these funds is undoubtedly politically motivated. Rep. Kim Schrier (D-WA-8) grabbed the most pork, securing $892 million in total. A WSJ editorial points out that Rep. Schrier is “among the most vulnerable Democrats in 2022.” Whether you like it or not, both Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi are using your money to buy votes in districts they want to keep.
In February, Congress ended an earmark moratorium that was established in 2011. Now, we’re back to business as usual. Perhaps it was too much to ask our congress men and women to stay away from the pork-barrel buffet for more than 10 years.
Local projects should be built with local funding. When Rep. Wexton returns, ask her why your taxpayer money should go to teapot museums and trolleys in other states.
Thomas McKenna, Lovettsville