Assessing the Marginal Price for a Congressional Vote

Via the Sunlight Foundation:

A day after Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., and ten other House members compromised on their pro-life position to deliver the necessary yes-votes to pass health care reform, the "Stupak 11" released their fiscal year 2011 earmark requests, which total more than $4.7 billion--an average of $429 million worth of earmark requests for each lawmaker.

The eleven members were the focus of high level pressure by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats because they threatened to vote against the health care reform bill, which passed the House on Sunday, March 21, by a seven vote margin. Granting earmark requests are one of the ways leadership can encourage members to vote their way.

When it was announced the other day that three little-used airports in Stupak's district were given about 3/4 of a million dollars on the day before the health care vote, Stupak made it clear that he would never sell his vote for so little.  "It is absurd to think I would change my vote for a tow truck and a fence to keep deer from walking onto the runway of an airport in my district," Stupak said in a statement.  So it should not be surprising that he is asking for more.

Update:  The Sunlight Foundation has partially backed off on this story


  1. me:

    I shudder to think about the amount of apathy required that gets these folks reelected.

    Partly, the notion that all politicians from both parties have made blackmail and bribery part of their every-day agenda might be to blame.

    But, really, you get the political representation you pay for (at least for the time being where private citizens are concerned - in votes). Stop financing the morally corrupt already?

  2. MJ:

    Note that Stupak didn't say that he would never sell his vote, just that he wouldn't sell his vote for so little. He obviously has something much grander in mind.

  3. IgotBupkis:

    > So it should not be surprising that he is asking for more.

    It should be surprising is if he's actually getting it.

    Stupak: So, you're authorizing this money for my district, right?
    Obama: Ah, yeah... oh, hey, look, here comes your bus...
    Stupak: What? My bus? I'm not... AAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!

  4. Billare:

    Shouldn't there be a comparison to what the stalwart supporters of the bill are requesting for this to be a good critique? A disproportionate season for the Stupak 11 would be the most clearly supportive of the pay-off scenario. The Democrats will probably defend this by chalking up the annual increase to needs demanded by the recession.

  5. Noumenon:

    If I'm reading the article right, these are their requests, which may or may not be fully funded. The article provides the context of how much Stupak got funded last year, but not how much he requested. So we don't have enough info to even know if he requested more this year than last year, or whether he will get it.