From Lakeland Florida's Ledger:
Garland: To U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., for winning his first victory in the House by ridding a spending bill of a wasteful pork-barrel project. Flake offered an amendment in late June to remove a $129,000 congressional earmark for an economic development initiative titled, "The Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree."
The earmark was put in the bill by Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., and would have been used in Mitchell County, where employment has been drastically reduced by the closing of textile mills and furniture factories. The money would have doubled retail space for a gift shop where former factory workers sell products they've made - such as Christmas tree ornaments, handmade soap and pottery.
Yes, it's a worthwhile program. But does it belong in the federal budget, put there without committee hearings or debate? Flake didn't think so, and proposed the amendment to the 2008 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act. The final vote to remove the earmark passed, 249-174.
Last year, Flake proposed nearly 20 amendments to remove earmarks from bills. All his efforts were unceremoniously defeated.