Taylor ready to defend earmark requests

WASHINGTON — Rep. Gene Taylor, D-4, not only does not apologize for submitting more than $200 million in earmark requests, he says it is Congress’ Constitutional duty to “control the purse strings.”

Taylor made his requests Monday, the deadline for submissions for the next fiscal year, amid extraordinary controversy over the use of earmarks — federal spending dictated by a lawmaker for a specific project or purpose.

More than half of Taylor’s funding request is for the military, including $14.8 million for a high-speed assault craft, and the rest for projects in his district, such as $10 million to dredge the Port of Gulfport for a deepwater port.

“I can defend every one of them,” he said of the earmarks.

Taylor’s defense of earmarks comes against a backdrop of controversy: the House GOP Conference voted last week to forego earmarks for one year, arguing they have added to the deficit and have become symbols of Washington corruption and cronyism.

While the Mississippian is not about to back off the earmark system, he said, “the good thing that came out of this is accountability and transparency.”

Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2010/03/28/2058857/taylor-ready-to-defend-earmark.html#ixzz0jZKdqyV1

Sun Herald 3/29/10