By CAGW, Special for USDR
Today, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) is illuminating the fiscally irresponsible track record of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). Over the course of his 42-year congressional career, the senior senator from the Magnolia State has amassed many less-than-admirable achievements.
As he did prior to the June 3, 2014 primary that led to tomorrow’s runoff with two-term state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R), Sen. Cochran remains a prolific pork-barrel proponent. He touts that if he is re-elected, he will continue to “promise more money to Mississippi.” On many occasions in television ads and on the campaign trail, Sen. Cochran has proudly displayed his earnest earmarking practices as an example of how to get things done. For example, in a May 13, 2014 NPR interview, Sen. Cochran stated, “For those who oppose earmarks, they are for the federal agencies making the decisions where the money is spent…this is supposed to be a government of and by and for the people, not for the bureaucrats.”
Since there is a congressional moratorium on earmarks that is likely to remain after tomorrow’s primary and the November elections, Sen. Cochran’s pledge to siphon off more federal dollars to Mississippi is an empty promise. He also fails to mention that even at the highest level of earmarks, which was $29 billion in 2006 according to the Congressional Pig Book, only about 1 percent of all federal spending was earmarked. That means those uninformed bureaucrats were responsible for the other 99 percent of expenditures, which were distributed according to the statutory requirements enacted by Congress.
In 2008, 2009, and 2010, when members of Congress were required to identify the earmarks that they requested, Sen. Cochran had the highest number and greatest cost of earmarks in each of those three years. Due in large part to his pork-barrel prowess, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Sen. Cochran “porker of the month” in 2006, 2009, 2010, and 2012. He was also a nominee for “porker of the year” in 2010.
Sen. Cochran’s blatant failure to practice fiscal responsibility has also been highlighted in CCAGW’s Congressional Ratings, which were first issued in 1989/1990. In 1994, Sen. Cochran received the lowest score of his career with 32 percent, and in 2011, Sen. Cochran received the lowest score of any Senate Republican with a rating of 55 percent. His lifetime rating of 58 percent is the second lowest among all Senate Republicans.
Based on his voting record and his campaign pledge, there is little doubt that if he is re-elected, Sen. Cochran will both continue to squander taxpayer money and seek to re-establish earmarking. When Sen. Cochran stated that “earmarks have gotten a bad name,” he seems to have forgotten the bad name that earmarks gave to Congress, particularly Republicans, during the scandals that engulfed members of Congress in the years prior to the loss of the Republican majority in 2006 and the agreement to adopt the earmark moratorium in 2010.
“Voters throughout the country have made it clear they are tired of the old ways of doing business in Washington,” said CCAGW President Tom Schatz. “Mississippians can send a message that they agree it’s time for a change by voting tomorrow to nominate a Republican for the U.S. Senate, Chris McDaniel, who will fight for individual liberty, free markets, and fiscal responsibility in government. Sen. Cochran may want Mississippians to believe his pork-barrel spending habits are beneficial to the state’s longevity, but his actions are truly a disservice to both his constituents and U.S. taxpayers. Sen. Cochran’s spendthrift behavior, if allowed to continue, will not only drive up the $17.6 trillion dollar debt, but will also lead to more economic stagnation and a lower standard of living.”
The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.