Gov't Watchdog Group Slams Daschle As 'Porker of the Month'

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:28 PM EDT

( - Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota was named December's "Porker of the Month" by a group that monitors wasteful federal spending.

Citizens Against Government Waste said Daschle deserves the award because he cares more about his party's "special interests" than attending to "national business" such as passing an economic stimulus package or fast-track trade authority.

"The farm lobby, labor unions, teachers' unions and the environmentalists have all recently gotten big Christmas presents from the Daschle Democrats, while pressing national business has gone unaddressed," CAGW said in a statement.

"Worse, Daschle has let spending zoom out of control even while he hammers the White House for cutting taxes during a recession."

CAGW said it could name only one Daschle accomplishment since he took over as Senate Majority Leader.

"While the House of Representatives has recently adopted an energy bill, an economic stimulus package, a federal terrorism insurance bill, and fast-track trade authority, the only recent accomplishment of the Daschle-controlled Senate is a pay raise for itself," CAGW said.

CAGW accused Daschle of giving priority to "other pressing items" such as "a shockingly bloated, even by Washington's standards, $170-billion farm bill that will increase agriculture subsidies 65 percent over current levels, and a $15.6 billion handout to the railroad workers pension."

Daschle's office had no comment on the CAGW "honor."

However, Daschle said Thursday that he and his fellow Democrats would consider Republican tax cut proposals if the GOP would yield on unemployment and health insurance issues.

Specifically, Daschle wants to increase unemployment compensation; boost eligibility for for unemployment compensation to include both part-time workers and late hires; help states pay for health care; and help unemployed workers pay for their own health care with a 75 percent tax credit.

Republicans want to lower the overall 27 percent tax rate to 25 percent four years earlier than scheduled under the earlier tax cut legislation. Daschle, according to a spokesman, would consider speeding the 27 percent rate reduction to 26 percent.

But Daschle said it would be very difficult to sell an accelerated rate cut to fellow Democrats who are worried about Social Security fund and deepening federal budget deficits.