Tom Corbett campaigned for office on a promise to eliminate the use of “walking around money” known as WAMs.
But Pennsylvania’s governor says it’s come back to bite him and his legislative agenda.
WAMs have been derided as lawmakers’ way of buying political support back in their districts. And Corbett was adamant about ending the kind of grants that used to grease squeaky wheels in the state House and Senate.
Still, he acknowledges how effective they could be.
“You know, there were some bills, and I’m not going to go into which ones, all I needed was five votes,” he said. “But I had nothing to negotiate with, without the WAMs.
House GOP spokesman Steve Miskin takes issue with the governor’s argument, but he dodges the question of whether the absence of WAMs has changed the Legislature.
“It’s always easy to criticize and complain or specify what was not done,” he said. “But the fact is, a lot was done.”
Miskin says the difference between the Legislature before Corbett and after Corbett is not the absence of WAMs.
“Now you have true leaders who don’t need the power of money but the power of a principled argument and better negotiation – better negotiation skills, or good negotiation skills,” he said..
The spokesman for the House Democrats has a different take.
“I think the governor’s difficulty in getting things done has been weakness in his ideas rather than a lack of negotiating tools such as WAMs,” Bill Patton said.
Patton says the governor needs better arguments and policy ideas, not WAMs.
Corbett takes issue with the idea he hasn’t been the best at communicating with the Legislature.
“What I haven’t had with me is, ‘And here’s what I can give you right now.’ OK? That’s the WAMs,” he said.