When it comes to the federal budget, size matters. The size of the budget package itself matters (and this refers literally to the height of the stack of paper). The size of your neighborhood’s cut of the funds matters. And most of all, the size of your political leader’s Congressional clout matters.
By the time House and Senate members get the final budget package (which this time around included 13 spending bills and two feet of paper) they usually have a couple of hours to decide to vote it up or down. This scenario doesn’t leave much room for a close reading.
That’s the content of the budget is often a surprise (or even a shock) to those who voted for it.
So the politicians who are in position to get pork into the budget do so (which makes the defeat of Tom Daschle all the more amazing). Out in my neck of the woods, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi was able to deliver significant funds for various projects.
As Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense explains: “Whenever a process is broken, as it is, you find a lot of powerful lawmakers who throw ideas against the wall and see which ones stick. We’re basing what gets funds on the size of your politician rather than on the importance of your projects.”
Because of Pelosi’s rank in the Congress, my walls are getting hit with a lot of ideas.