The other white meat, or the tie that binds members of Congress?

If members of Congress are to reach some sort of agreement on federal spending in the months ahead, Barron’s “D.C. Current” columnist Jim McTague suspects pork might play a role. And he’s not talking about a plate of barbecue.

Obama’s admonitions aside, Republicans most likely will use next January’s budget deadline as an opportunity to push their fiscal agenda without the threat of a government shutdown. [Lobbyist Gregg] Hartley points out that there are Republicans who dislike the Draconian sequester law as much as the Democrats do and want to replace it with more-gradual, targeted budget cuts. Republicans might offer this carrot in return for some sort of fiscal deal.

If the sequester is removed, political pork could emerge as the one nexus of self-interest where the two competing parties meet to bridge their differences. Remember, 2014 is an election year. Every campaigning politician likes to bring home some bacon.

“There’s tremendous frustration inside the Congress and inside the business community that we are not doing something about our infrastructure,” says Hartley. Key political constituencies like manufacturers, contractors, and unions would benefit from a big spending package.

For Wall Street, talk of building pork bridges is much better than talk of blowing up the economy.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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