...Actually, that title is misleading; he hasn't come up with a new trick as much as he has found a variation on an old trick.
A year ago, I put up a post studying a pattern to Congressman Jeff Flake's anti-earmark crusade - his amendments to block or strip out earmarks always seemed to target community projects and similar activities; almost never did they target earmarks dedicated to specific defense contractors or other corporations.
This year, he has become a little more subtle about it; most of his anti-earmark amendments are just that, general anti-earmark amendments, ones that don't target specific projects (typical language - "Would prohibit any funds appropriated for the [XYZ program] from being used for a congressional earmark, as defined by clause 9(d) of rule XXI of the Rules of the House.")
Every so often, however, he tries to get, ummm...*creative."
One such creative effort is his proposed amendment to H.R. 1286, The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail Designation Act.
The underlying act would add to the national system of historic trails "a corridor of approximately 600 miles following the route taken by the armies of General George Washington and Count Rochambeau between Newport, Rhode Island, and Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781 and 1782."
Flake's amendment would bar the act from taking effect until "the date that the Secretary of the Interior completes all backlogged maintenance in units of the National Park System."
Less than a year ago, the dollar value attached to backlogged NPS maintenance was over $8 billion.
Now, someone could say that Congressman Flake is simply trying bring attention to a shortfall at the National Park System, something that many people, including me, would laud.
However, that "someone" would be somebody who is totally unfamiliar with Flake's history as Congress' version of Mikey (of Life Cereal fame) - "He won't vote for it, he hates *everything*!!.
More indicative of his attitude toward the National Park System is his vote against funding it at all (last June's "no" vote on H.R. 2643, Interior Department Appropriations).
Note: Flake is nothing if not consistent - in 2005 and 2006, he voted against Interior Department (and NPS) appropriations too (2005 here; 2006 here.)
Something tells me that if Congress ever considers a bill adequately fund the National Park System's maintenance efforts, Flake will forget his current amendment and oppose that move with all of his being.
In any event, H.R. 1286 is scheduled for consideration on the House floor later this week, most likely on Thursday.
There are two Democratic candidates standing up for families and fiscal prudence ("prudence" means sometimes spending a little now to avoid spending a lot later, kind of what happens when you put off things like basic maintenance).
Visit the websites of Rebecca Schneider and Chris Gramazio and contribute, volunteer, or simply give them a little love - they can use it, and CD6, Arizona, and the country need it.