Monday, June 18, 2007

A Question for Mr. Rogers About Earmarks

Last Friday, Mike Rogers submitted an op-ed to the Lansing State Journal about earmarks (also known as pork-barrel spending). Here are a few excerpts from his column:

Even more troubling is that this incident led to the new Democrat majority not allowing any earmarks to be vetted or debated in the process of working on spending bills. Clearly this is a step backwards that takes us back to the image of secret deals in dark smoke-filled rooms.

This incident in the people's house highlighted an arrogance of power at its worse. Both political parties are guilty.

Earmarks should not be decided in the dark. Every dollar the federal government spends should be vetted, offered in a transparent way, and open for debate. If we turn the lights on the earmark process, we can work to protect Americans against the abuse that has brought us considerable misuse of the public's hard-earned dollars. No more bridges to nowhere. No more $100 hammers. No more rainforests in Iowa. And no more spending of billions in taxpayer funds without full disclosure.

In this time of economic hardship in our state, no dollar can be wasted. Transparency and accountability are crucial to keeping America and Michigan fiscally healthy. We need to turn the lights on and change the way Congress does business with the people's pocketbook.


Setting aside Rep. Rogers' spotty history on open government legislation for a moment, I actually think this is a noble effort that's worth pursuing. The people do have a right to know how their tax dollars are being spent.

So, I wrote Mike Rogers a letter...

I just read Rep. Rogers Op-Ed from Friday's Lansing State Journal, and wanted to send my compliments to the Congressman for taking such a strong stand against earmarks. I especially agree with this statement: "Every dollar the federal government spends should be vetted, offered in a transparent way, and open for debate." Rep. Rogers, could you please lead the way by disclosing every earmark you have ever requested in Congress? If we are going to "turn the lights on the earmark process," as you suggest, I believe your constituents deserve to know what earmarks you have placed in legislation during your career in Washington. Thanks for your time. I look forward to your response.


Some of you may remember that Mike Rogers actually wrote me back the last time I submitted an email to his office. We'll see if I get a response this time. Hopefully I won't have to wait another three months to hear back from him.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Check out livingstondaily.com. Rogers apparently released some earmarks there.
-D

Anonymous said...

http://www.livingstondaily.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070621/NEWS01/706210310

Anonymous said...

Rogers released this year's earmarks, but you report nothing here. no credibility -- give him some love for doing the right thing for once

Pohlitics said...

Sorry for not responding until now. If Rogers released a list of earmarks, we'd be glad to post them here... that was the whole point of this post.

I don't live in Livingston County, so I don't read the P&A on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the link you gave me no longer works. Until I have something I can actually link to, there's nothing I can do.

Thanks for posting!

Kelster93 said...

Anonymous, I would consider "giving some love" (a most unfortunate term)if Mr. Rogers had the intestinal fortitude to post all of his earmarks on his congressional website... unfortunately, he hasn't done too much for us local folks. The bulk of his appropriations have gone to pharmaceutical companies, big oil, and the usual suspects.

Anonymous said...

http://www.livingstondaily.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070621/NEWS01/706210310

Anonymous said...

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/06/21/earmarks/index.html

Anonymous said...

Or you could go to google news and type in "Mike Rogers" Earmarks i fyou were really interested in finding out. Rogers is one of about 50 congressmen who have released their earmarks . isn't this a good thing?

Anonymous said...

I find this blog incredibly weak. For a site that pretends to monitor Rep. Rogers, you really ought to at least be reading his local paper. Cut and pasted from livingstondaily.com, drum roll please, here is the list of earmarks.
Does anyone here want to comment?

Notes: Below is a complete list of the appropriations project requests submitted by U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, for Fiscal Year 2008. It should be noted that these projects have zero budget cost and do not constitute new spending as each application seeks to be included as part of the budgeted appropriations process. Projects are listed according to the bill they would be included in. Pursuant to House rules, Rogers has filed certifications with the chairman and ranking member of the appropriate subcommittees stating that neither he nor his spouse have a financial interest in the project requests.

Labor, Health and Human Services, Education:


1. $550,000 to Tomorrows Child/Michigan SIDS: Tomorrow's Child/Michigan SIDS is a nonprofit organization to preserve newborn lives and help families, through education, outreach and research. Funds would establish the Michigan Center for Infant Loss to address infant mortality.

1. $550,000 to Tomorrows Child/Michigan SIDS: Tomorrow's Child/Michigan SIDS is a nonprofit organization to preserve newborn lives and help families, through education, outreach and research. Funds would establish the Michigan Center for Infant Loss to address infant mortality.

2. $461,000 to Cleary University: Cleary University maintains partnerships with a local public school secondary consortium and a local public charter school to provide instruction for high school students. Funds would be used to upgrade equipment and further develop technology instruction for high school students.

3. $500,000 to Ingham Regional Medical Center: Funds would provide for health screening and educational outreach programs to combat obesity.

4. $500,000 to Burcham Hills Retirement Community. The project would fund the Burcham Hills Retirement Community's establishment of the Career Ladder Nursing Program for Alzheimer's Patients.

5. $325,000 to Impression Five Science Center: Science Exhibit Impression Five allows visitors to explore, discover, and experience the scientific wonders of the world. Funds would allow for the creation of a new exhibit directed at understanding science presented through basic components of molecules and cells to more complex areas of genetics and health.

Commerce, Justice and Science:


1. $400,000 to the United Way of Southeast Michigan. Funding would support United Way programs that help recently released prisoners learn job skills and find employment.

2. $360,000 in funding for the Judicial Education Reference Information and Technical Transfer program, or JERITT, administered by Michigan State University, based in East Lansing. Funding would allow MSU to upgrade the computer system JERITT uses. JERITT is a nationally known program accessed by many other universities.

Defense:


1. $4 million for a Base Security Systems project administered in Brighton, Michigan by Lowery Computer Products. The funding would allow Lowery computer to do proof of concept tests and perform a demonstration project on a proven, advanced security system that would allow the military to better track who and what is on base.

2. $2.25 million for Advanced Composite Materials Research for vehicles, at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. This research will be enhance the effectiveness of US Forces through numerical simulation optimization and experimentally validated design of advanced hybrid vehicle components such as motors, power electronics, and control systems. The resulting technology will be the most advanced components available resulting in a competitive edge both for the U.S. military and industry.

3. $8 million for the purchase of battlefield respirators (BRAV) by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, in Silver Spring, Md.. These respirators help injured soldiers in the field mitigate serious injury until full medical attention can arrive.

4. $1 million for disposable bioreactors, to be developed by PBS Biotech in Okemos. Funding will assist in the development of a simple, scaleable and economical disposable bioreactor system, which will provide more flexibility on manufacturing capacity and operation schedule without major capital investment, and simplify the regulatory compliance requirements by eliminating the cleaning steps between the batches.

5. $4 million for Tactical Vehicle Cargo Restraint Nets, to be developed and produced by Network Enterprises Inc. in New Hudson. The function of the LoadTamer Cargo Nets is to safely restrain mission ready cargo in trucks/trailers/combat vehicles/boats and helicopters from bouncing/shifting or blowing out of, or off, the cargo area thus ensuring mission accomplishment.

6. $2.5 million for Advanced Hybrid Vehicle Technology research and Michigan State University in East Lansing. MSU would use funding to continue research to validate the design of advanced hybrid vehicle components.

7. $6 million for cold-weather layering clothing, to be produced in Lansing for servicemembers fighting overseas in cold climates.

8) $8 million for multiclimate protection clothing, to be produced in Lansing for servicemembers fighting overseas in various climates.

9. $9 million for fleece insulating liners, to be produced in Lansing for servicemen and women fighting overseas.

Note: All three of these projects are performed by Peckham Corp, a company that employs the disabled in Lansing, MI.

10. $325,000 for the training of technology workers, to be done at Cleary University in Genoa Township. Cleary University is working to provide job training opportunities for Livingston county workers.

Energy:

1. $1 million in funding for research and development of emerging technology to displace petroleum-based chemistry, by Intermediary BioChemicals in Okemos.

2. $2 million in funding for research into biomass processing, advanced fermentation technologies and downstream process systems, by MBI International in Lansing. This research would further efforts to reduce the production cost of biomass fuels.

3. $1 million in funding for the implementation of Energy Conservation Measures (ECM) at Ingham Regional Medical Center, located in Lansing, Michigan. Funding would allow Ingham Regional Medical Center to reduce its overall energy consumption.

4. $3 million in funding to conduct research that will assist the Department of Energy's FreedomCar initiative, to be conducted at Michigan State University in East Lansing. The Hybrid Electric Vehicle group at MSU is working to develop technology that will lead to advanced hybrid components, including motors, power electronics and control systems, along with the capability of conducting numerical simulations for optimizing the designs of these systems. This effort will also include evaluation of the advantages of using selectively manufactured biofuels.

Financial Services:


1. $100,000 in funding for the Institute for Trade in the Americas at Michigan State University College of Law in East Lansing. Funding will help advance the second phase of the institute's planned development. The planned addition of a Web portal to disseminate the institute's information and provide open access to the many resources of the law college will further accelerate the importance of dialogue on trade issues.

2. $325,000 in funding for the development of economics and personal finance courses at Cleary University in Genoa Township. The funds would be used to develop and provide online courses in economics and personal finance to be used by schools in Washtenaw and Livingston counties.

3. $600,000 in funding for an ex-offender entrepreneurship program run by the United Way of Southeastern Michigan in Detroit. The funds would be used to provide training classes in the areas of small-business management, building a business on the Internet, business marketing, credit education, franchise possibilities, selling and customer service. The initiative will work with the Wayne County Michigan Prisoner Reentry Pilot and its contracted sites to recruit potential entrepreneurs.

Interior:


1. $165,000 in funding for the Mill Pond Lane bypass sanitary sewer project in Brighton. The construction of the Mill Pond Lane bypass sanitary sewer will allow for collection of downtown sewage and route it to another portion of the sanitary sewer system, freeing up capacity on the Second Street sewer main. The sewer will allow for additional new economic development projects in downtown. The industrial area, and other areas will benefit as well.

2. $1 million in funding for infrastructure management and planning for the Oakland County Drain Commission. The rural villages in Michigan are faced with numerous failing septic systems and the inability for these systems to be reconstructed in kind. The towns and villages (as well as adjacent schools) will need to construct new public infrastructure that reflect the publics desire to retain the rural setting. Funding will assist the Oakland County Drain Commission in its mission to address these water, wastewater and drainage challenges.

Transportation:


1. $2,500,000 Interchange construction at I-96 and Latson Road in Livingston County, Michigan.

2. $7,500,000 for Right-of-Way acquisition at Baldwin Road in Oakland County, Michigan.

3. $11,250,000 for the extension of the main runway at Capital City Airport, in Lansing, Michigan.

4. $1,040,000 for road construction at Cleary University in Howell, Michigan.

5. $5,415,996 for the purchase of buses and bus storage facility renovation at the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) in Lansing, Michigan.

6. $1,200,000 widening of Sashabaw Road in Oakland County, Michigan.

7. $1,200,000 for the purchase of land and maintenance equipment for Clinton County Transit, located in Clinton County Michigan.

8. $100,000 for the purchase of buses and bus storage facility renovation for the Livingston Essential transportation Service (LETS) located in Livingston County, Michigan.

9. $400,000 for the construction of wheelchair ramps in the homes of disabled individuals who cannot afford to pay for them. The construction will be done by the United Way of Southeast Michigan, based in Detroit, Michigan.

10. $225,000 to construct a community recreation center on the campus of Cleary University in Howell, Michigan.

Agriculture:


1. $500,000 in funding for the research of Phytophthora capsici. The entity to receive funding for this project is Michigan State University located in East Lansing. The funding would be used for the research of phytophthora capsici a fungal pathogen that causes plants to rot which is a threat to the asparagus crop in Michigan.

Note: The following project requests did not include a dollar amount. These direct grants are part of larger, coordinated, on-going agricultural research projects overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

2. Funding for the research of Bovine Tuberculosis in fiscal year 2008 at MSU.

3. Funding for the research of improving Fruit Practices at MSU.

4. Funding for the Michigan Biotechnology Consortium at Michigan State University. The funding provides for a joint venture between MBI and Michigan State University to develop value added products and processes utilizing agricultural products and renewable resources.

5. Funding for the research of Armillaria Root Rot at MSU.

6. Funding for the research of improving Sustainable Agriculture at MSU.