"Last week, [Senator Tom] Coburn and six other Senators released an 'offset package' aimed at identifying budget cuts to pay for hurricane relief," writes New Zealand Bear, announcing a shift in PorkBusters' focus from raising awareness of pork to calling attention to specific legislation that actually starts eliminating pork:
The first bill that we are focusing on is sponsored by seven Senators who have styled themselves the "Fiscal Responsibility Team": Tom Coburn, Sam Brownback, Jim DeMint, John Ensign, Lindsey Graham, John McCain [Gak], and John Sununu.
I had the pleasure of being invited to a conference call with Senator Coburn last week [blogged here]. I was impressed by what appeared to me to be his sincere desire to confront the idiocy involved in our current fiscal policies, even if it meant pissing off his fellow Senators.
The key provision in the bill for our purposes is that it would elminate all "offsets" (i.e., pork) in the highway bill --- wiping away a vast chunk of pork in a single stroke.
Here's where we bloggers and our readers come in.
The Porkbusters page at TTLB will now show, state by state, which Senators have signed on in support of this proposal, and which are opposing it. As before, we are encouraging bloggers and blog-readers to contact their Senators to find out their positions and report back to us.
Off to the phones again. Last time we talked with Will Johnson of Senator Kerry's Main District Office in Boston -- October 20 -- re how his boss would vote on one of Coburn's amendments then about to be voted upon that would have redirected bridge funding from Alaska to New Orleans, the aide told us Senator Kerry "may not have made up his mind yet" on that one, but he, Will Johnson, would be certain to call us as soon as he found out. We're still waiting for that call. Similar story with Tom Crohan of Senator Kennedy's Main District Office, who promised to call back as soon as he knew his boss's decision. The vote occurred later that day, and Coburn's amendments were overwhelmingly voted down. We're 100% sure how our own Taxachusetts Senators will vote, but let's see if we can get their frontmen to come right out and say so. 'Will update as soon as we get word. All PorkBusting all the time here. We support the Fiscal Watch Team Offset Package!
Update: Senator Kerry still hasn't made up his mind, but when we teased aide Will Johnson during a phone conversation this afternoon that we're pretty sure how his boss will vote, he acknowledged "I think that's going to be the case." Close enough to put him down as one of the "Opposing Senators" on TTLB's Senate Responses page? We think so.
Update: We love this man's way with words.