Friday, April 18, 2008


PROGRESS REPORT Sen. John McCain has repeatedly made a major campaign promise to veto any bill that comes to his desk as president if it contains earmarks. "I'll veto every bill that has a pork-barrel project on it," he has said.. McCain has failed to note, however, that earmarks have paid for projects that he supports, such as U.S. aid to Israel. Confronted with this reality this week, McCain's campaign quickly granted an exception for Israel. McCain "will ensure America remains committed to the security of Israel, including maintaining America's assistance levels," a spokesperson said.

It is surprising then that McCain was unaware that his earmark plan would obliterate U.S. funding assistance for Israel. McCain's chief economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin has said that McCain embraces the Congressional Research Service's definition of the term "earmarks." All told, $14.4 billion, or two thirds of all foreign assistance, would be eliminated if McCain stuck with this proposal."

U.S. assistance to Israel is not the only casualty in McCain's anti-earmark pledge. CRS's earmark definition also includes funding for military family housing. What's more, tens of millions in military housing are directed to McCain's home state of Arizona. Will McCain now grant another exception for much-needed military housing, further eroding his promise to veto "every bill that has a pork barrel project?" Or will he deride it as "outrageous" Washington spending?

McCain's earmark numbers simply do not add up, leaving two-thirds of his tax proposal unfunded.


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