WASHINGTON -- Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) took on a brave new title on Wednesday: zombie killer.
Standing alongside a giant photograph of a highway road sign flashing the words "Caution! Zombies! Ahead!!!", Polis took to the House floor to warn his colleagues of "zombie" earmarks that have returned from the dead and crept into the transportation bill they were debating. The best way to ward them off, he said, would be to pass his amendment banning the return of once-killed earmarks.
"Usually when something is killed, it stays dead. But just like a zombie movie, some earmarks refuse to die and return to life as wasteful deficit spending," Polis said. "This Congress was supposed to eliminate earmarks, but zombie earmarks from prior sessions keep appearing and reappearing, and my amendment corrects that."
Polis specifically took aim at an earmark in the bill that would provide billions of dollars for the construction of what he called "the Alabama Porkway," a 65-mile, six-lane beltway surrounding the city of Birmingham. He said cost estimates have already put the project at as much as $4.7 billion before construction even begins.
"So costs have soared and now Alabama wants a bailout for the zombie highway," he said. "An earmark and a bailout."
Unfortunately, lawmakers still aren't safe from zombie measures. The House rejected his amendment 176-242 and passed the 90-day surface transportation bill -- zombies included -- on a 293-127 vote.