Topeka The fight over earmarks and tax cuts last week provided some interesting comments and votes from Kansas Republicans.
U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Hays, criticized the $858 billion tax deal that extended Bush-era tax cuts for two years, and extended unemployment benefits for 13 months.
"More spending, more debt and an uncertain tax structure," Moran said. "Business as usual in Washington D.C. where tough decisions are put off for another day." Moran voted against the bill, saying he wanted to make the tax cuts permanent.
The deal was passed, however, with bi-partisan support, including the votes of Republican Reps. Lynn Jenkins of Topeka, whose district includes west Lawrence, and Todd Tiahrt, and U.S. Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts. Democrat U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, whose 3rd District includes east Lawrence, also voted for the deal.
After voting for the tax deal, Jenkins and Tiahrt released a strongly-worded statement.
"Playing chicken with a struggling economy to prove a political point is not why Kansans sent us to Congress. Quite simply, Kansans expect and deserve more. Simply put, a vote against this bill was a vote to take families’ hard-earned money and put it in Government’s pockets," they said.
Meanwhile, when an omnibus spending bill died in the Senate, Jenkins cheered, saying that the bill was laden with earmarks and pork-barrel spending.
"When I was elected to Congress, Eastern Kansas knew that wasteful earmarks, runaway government spending, and the same tired notion that we are going to spend our way out of debt were leading this country down the wrong path," she said.
But Jenkins' fellow Republican and fellow Kansan, Brownback, had included in that bill an earmark for $40 million for the development of the National Bio- and Agro Defense Facility that is proposed for Manhattan. NBAF is a project that state elected officials have been fighting for for several years. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has picked Manhattan for the site of the lab.
Brownback is leaving the Senate to be sworn in as governor on Jan. 10. Moran was elected to take Brownback's place in the Senate.