Thursday, October 02, 2008

Earmarks in the Bailout Bill - Money Well Spent?

The Senate will begin debate within minutes on their attempt to revive the bailout bill rejected by the House. They have released the bill text this morning, and the Senate Conservatives Fund website has it for public perusal. The new version has no allocations going to the Housing Trust Fund, which the Dodd version originally did, so ACORN will get no money from the bailout.

However, the Senate did add a few winners to this new version:

New Tax Earmarks in Bailout Bill
  • Film and Television Productions (Sec. 502)
  • Wooden Arrows designed for use by children (Sec. 503)
  • 6 page package of earmarks for litigants in the 1989 Exxon Valdez incident, Alaska (Sec. 504)
Tax Earmark “Extenders” in the Bailout Bill
  • Virgin Island and Puerto Rican Rum (Section 308)
  • American Samoa (Sec. 309)
  • Mine Rescue Teams (Sec. 310)
  • Mine Safety Equipment (Sec. 311)
  • Domestic Production Activities in Puerto Rico (Sec. 312)
  • Indian Tribes (Sec. 314, 315)
  • Railroads (Sec. 316)
  • Auto Racing Tracks (317)
  • District of Columbia (Sec. 322)
  • Wool Research (Sec. 325)
I love the auto racing tracks in particular. I can see the headlines now: “Global financial markets melt down, NASCAR, Caribbean rum hardest hit”. As many people have said now, I’d be more inclined to take this crisis seriously if people on the Hill didn’t use it to butter up their favored constituencies.

The Senate will vote at around 7:35 PM tonight on this bill. I’d expect an easier passage, thanks to provisions to expand FDIC insurance and an added authority to suspend mark-to-market rules that may make some of the rest of this bill unnecessary. Senate leadership isn’t taking any chances; they’ve added this as an amendment to a bill containing some legislation sought by both liberals and conservatives, making it difficult to oppose from any direction.

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