Senate lets Murtha keep his pork project

More proof today that lawmakers are loath to tamper with the longstanding earmarking process that many of them utilize in Congress to bring home the bacon. By a vote of 43-53, the Senate defeated a measure that would have stripped federal funding from a barely-used airport named after Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa.

The provision was introduced by Senate anti-earmark crusader Jim DeMint, R-S.C., whose office provided “fun facts” about the alleged uselessness of the airport.

“More people fly out of an airport near the north pole than do out of the John Murtha airport (last year the Murtha airport handed 6,700 passengers, compared to 37,000 at the airport in Barrow, Alaska).”

According to Taxpayers for Common Sense, the federal government has pumped $200 million into the airport, located two hours east of Pittsburgh. Jim Ellis, Vice President of TCS, called it “practically a museum piece.”

Murtha is one of the biggest earmarkers in Congress and the 19-term lawmaker has been named one of the most corrupt members of Congress by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (which sites his connection to a now-defunct lobbying firm under investigation by the FBI).

Murtha contends he is simply bringing needed resources to his district.

Retiring Sen. Kit Bond, D-Mo., was the only Republican to vote against stripping the funding, while five Republicans voted for the measure.

“I'm glad most Republicans and few brave Democrats stood against this abuse of taxpayer dollars,” DeMint said. “American people are speaking out against spending and debt, but sadly the majority in the Senate still isn't listening. Senators who voted for Murtha's boondoggle have little credibility calling for fiscal responsibility.”

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