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The Battle Over Earmarks (Bribes)

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: This is Sunday on Meet the Depressed, David Gregory talking to DeMint. He said, "You think the Tea Party actually cost the Republican Party control of the Senate?"

DEMINT: That is a very silly thing to do, David. The Tea Party are responsible for just about every Republican who was the elected around the country. This time last year, if people will think about it, we were concerned about holding our own. Many thought Republicans would fall below 38 in the Senate. So I supported all the Republican candidates, including Christine O'Donnell. Unfortunately, she was so maligned by Republicans I don't think she ever had a chance.

RUSH: She was so maligned by Republicans, she didn't have a chance. Gregory says, "He's not with you. He's suggesting that it's more a question of discretion. The leader of the Republicans, are you prepared to go toe to toe" this is McConnell he's talking about "and this is gonna be the big showdown with your Republican leadership on earmarks?"

DEMINT: Mitch McConnell has voted twice for an earmark ban that I've proposed in the Senate. Just about every Republican who was running for the Senate this time ran on a no-earmark pledge and we've had a vote where over half of our conference had voted for the ban before. Tom Coburn and I are leading the effort for this earmark ban, and we know John Boehner has committed to it in the House. We're not gonna have earmarks, so it's really silly for some senior Republicans in the Senate to try to block it.

RUSH: Now, there are some Republicans, House and Senate, who don't want to get rid of earmarks. I'll tell you why in just a second. More DeMint. Gregory says, "On health care, how do you go about dismantling that?"

DEMINT: You have to stop the funding of Obamacare, and over the next two years, show the American people what the real options are to improve the system we have now. The first step is obviously to defund it, and I think we can do that with Republicans controlling the House.

GREGORY: But do you think repeal is realistic?

DEMINT: Yes, I do. I think the next Republican running for president needs to run on complete repeal of Obamacare, because we really can't "tweak" it, David. It's built on a platform of government control, and that doesn't really work in America.

RUSH: Right. You just send a repeal bill up to Obama every week. Just send it up there! You debate it in the House every day. You make the Democrats defend it. Obamacare was on the ballot. Radical left-wingism. Obamacare was on the ballot, and it was substantively rejected. Make them defend it. Send that repeal bill up there every month, however often you can. Debate it on the floor of the House every day. Now we move on to Slay the Nation with Bob Schieffer. He's talking to Mitch McConnell. He said, "House Republicans want to ban earmarks, and this morning on TV on NBC, Jim DeMint -- champion of the Tea Party -- said he wants to put a ban on earmarks. House Republicans want to do that, but you said in the past you don't think that's a good idea?"

MCCONNELL: The president, of course, endorsed the DeMint proposal in his press conference the other day as well --

GREGORY: Mmm-hmm.

MCCONNELL: -- which is not surprising because every president would like for us to appropriate all the money and send it to them and let 'em spend it any way they want to. The earmark issue is about discretion, about an argument between the executive branch and the legislative branch over how funds should be spent. The stimulus bill that passed last year, the almost trillion-dollar stimulus bill, was riddled with executive branch earmarks. As you can see, it's a lot more complicated than it appears.

GREGORY: Yeah.

RUSH: Now, the argument against... Well, the people who are a little squishy on getting rid of earmarks say, "Look, it doesn't amount to anything. It's less than one-tenth of 1% of the budget. It's silly to plant the flag on earmarks." Yeah, I agree if the objection to earmarks is simply to save money. But that's not the real problem with earmarks. The problem with earmarks is that they are used as bribes to thwart the will of the people. If there were no earmarks, you wouldn't had the Cornhusker whatever it was and you wouldn't-a had that Ben Nelson being bought off for his health care vote, and all of it would have been academic. The problem with earmarks is that they are used -- and members of the Senate and House love this. They're used as bribes. "Okay, Ben! You don't like health care? Well, how about if we send a little earmark for Nebraska your way? We're gonna exempt you from it for ten years."

"Oh, Good Lord, I love that! I get reelected." The Cornhusker kickback. I mean, that's classic illustration of what's wrong with earmarks, and this is why senators want them. Louisiana Purchase. Do you realize without earmarks they'd-a gotten nowhere on health care, because they're just bribes? So earmarks are undemocratic. Earmarks are used to thwart the will of the people. Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas. They are used to buy votes. They are used to change the votes of elected officials who are prepared to vote the right way to represent their constituents. Here comes the earmark, and they think that they can persuade their constituents, "Hey, look what I brought home for you here!" (interruption)

What was that, Mr. Snerdley? We have to...? (interruption) Yeah, that's what I'm saying. Some of the Republicans like earmarks and the bribing. Yeah. Does anybody doubt that's what they're for? Look, in terms of saving dollars, it's like spitting in the ocean. If you eliminated all the earmarks the effect on the budget, you couldn't even see it. But the purpose of earmarks is bribery, and of course then how would Congress survive without bribes? Kickbacks, that kind of thing. Well, it would be fun to see how Congress would survive without bribes. But does anybody disagree with me that that's the real purpose of an earmark? They're not budget busters. It's how you get a bridge to nowhere. It's how the will of the people gets thwarted. Without earmarks you wouldn't-a had enough votes for health care in the Senate, I don't care what Pelosi did in the House.

END TRANSCRIPT

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