GOP ups ante on banning earmarks- Bill Young calls it fair

The GOP's vote came a day after Democrats in Washington imposed a slightly less ban on earmarks - in their case only against those that benefit private for-profit companies.

The Washington Post reports that there were more than a few Republicans who took issue with the decision in a "spirited" private meeting before hand.

Mitch Kates, the campaign manager for State Senator Charlie Justice, Young's likely Democratic opponent this fall, seized on the news, issuing out a press release to reporters that quoted Justice as slamming Young on earmarks:

“It is refreshing to see that even the Republican Party can no longer tolerate the corruptive practice of earmark/pork-barrel spending that has gone on for far too long in our government. .... About the only person left who thinks pork-barrel spending is a good idea seems to be Bill Young. The fact that he’s bragging about wasteful spending even as his Republican colleagues in Congress are pledging not to request any earmarks acknowledges how out-of-touch Bill Young is with reality and the struggles the people here back home are dealing with."

The memo today comes after another press release that the Justice campaign issued this week assailing Young's spending habits, as they attempt to exploit the dissatisfaction with excessive federal spending that so many Americans say they feel in the late winter of 2010.

But it is still winter, and there is nearly eights months before the Young-Justice matchup will occur.  The Justice team should perhaps wait and start making such accusations when independents in the district really begin focusing on the race.

Then again, it doesn't cost Justice/Kates to issue out such releases, hoping reporters like myself occasionally will write about them.  In this case, with the news out of D.C., it makes good strategic sense.

And what about the legislation's hopes of passing in the nation's capitol?  Well, the most famous legislator who rails against the form of spending, Arizona's John McCain, announced today that he intends to introduce an amendment to forbid all earmark requests until the budget is balanced.

In Washington, House Republicans announced on Thursday that their entire-178-member conference would not seek any congressional earmarks this year.

And for the record, Bill Young says he's cool with it.

The Pinellas based Representative told the St. Petersburg Times' Alex Leary that:

"It's fair ... The fact they are making it across the board, makes it far more acceptable.  It was something that was going to happen eventually, so why not now?"

Later in the interview though, Leary has Young, who proudly has boasted of getting loads of earmarks over his near four decade long tenure in the House, to admit that he was a bit wistful about the move:

He attributed the move to media efforts publicizing "terrible" earmarks like the "bridge to nowhere" as well as public concern about federal spending and debt — concern cited by Republican leaders today.

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