published Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Crumbling lock deserves funding

There are two key reasons why Congress should appropriate the money to complete the replacement of the crumbling lock at Chickamauga Dam.

First and foremost, it is clearly a federal responsibility. The lock is on a major interstate waterway, and its maintenance is a federal obligation under the Constitution. The funding to replace the lock is not comparable to wasteful pork-barrel spending such as peanut subsidies or music halls of fame, which have no rightful claim to federal funding.

Second, failing to rebuild the lock — which was constructed in the early 1940s — imperils thousands of jobs. A massive amount of barge traffic moves through the lock, promoting economic development for hundreds of miles upstream and downstream — and certainly not only in Tennessee.

And yet, President Barack Obama included no funding in his spending proposal for the upcoming budget year to finish the lock. (Ironically, the president’s proposed budget does include enormous amounts of unconstitutional spending.)

Third District U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., commendably plans to seek federal funding changes to secure the money for the new, expanded lock at Chickamauga Dam.

“This lock is critical to our national security and to the great commerce we have moving up and down the [Tennessee] river,” Fleischmann said recently in Chattanooga.

He has his work cut out for him. Unfortunately, constitutional spending in Washington seems to get no extra consideration compared with unconstitutional spending these days.

But we hope Fleischmann does get the necessary — constitutional — funding for the vital lock at Chickamauga Dam.

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Leaf said...

I agree that the lock should be funded, but I'm confused by the repetitive use of the phrase "Constitutional spending." The Constitution is very vague on the limits of spending. Basically, one of the amendments says Congress should collect taxes for the common defense and general welfare of the citizenry and that's about it. There have been very few limits on Congressional spending for a couple hundred years now.

Is the phrase "Constitutional spending" some type of code only known to a certain subset of people that really means something else? And by the way, the Legislature writes the spending bills, not the Executive branch.

March 8, 2011 at 11:14 a.m.
EaTn said...

I'm totally amused that federal money is always wasteful spending in some other district but absolutely critical spending at home.

March 8, 2011 at 2:18 p.m.
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