One person’s pork


The New York Times is reporting on a handful of spending requests by members of Congress that campaigned on less spending and smaller government.

Rep. Michele Bachmann’s support for the $700 million to build a new Stillwater bridge is one of the examples reporter Ron Nixon focused on. He examines the reasoning behind the request and how it isn’t technically an earmark.

On the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, local officials and members of Congress have pushed for a new four-lane bridge over the St. Croix River that was co-sponsored by Representative Sean P. Duffy, a Wisconsin freshman Republican, and Representative Michele Bachmann, the three-term Minnesota Republican who is running for president.

Opponents labeled the bridge an earmark, but Mr. Duffy and Mrs. Bachmann said the bridge was critical to handle increased traffic that an 80-year-old bridge nearby can no longer handle alone. They defend the spending by arguing that it was not an earmark since there were no specific costs listed in the bill itself, nor is it a financing bill. The legislation calls only for a bridge to be built.

Nixon doesn’t mention the broad support among regional Democrats and Republicans for a new bridge.

Do you view the Stillwater bridge request as an example of government pork?