A short time after Donald Trump won the presidency on a promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington, House Republicans will try to vote behind closed doors on a proposal to bring back earmarks. A senior House aide was reported as saying, “this would be the first step to completely ending the earmark ban by slowly peeling it away.”
The House earmark ban dates to 2010 when the GOP won control of the chamber. On Nov. 18, 2010 House Republicans adopted a ban on earmarks in the 112th Congress, continuing the earmarks ban they already had in place. According to Republican leader at the time, John Boehner:
“This earmark ban shows the American people we are listening and we are dead serious about ending business as usual in Washington,”
Still some like,and others had concerns that in doing so they would be ceding spending authority to the executive branch.
Prior to the ban in 2010, lawmakers used earmarks to direct government agencies how to spend money. The practice led to some noteworthy abuses such as the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska. Earmarks even played a role in former GOP Rep. Duke Cunningham’s bribery case. Cunningham, who spent time in prison, used earmarks in exchange for lobbyists’ gifts.
Before President elect Trump even takes office in January, a trio of Republican lawmakers want to return to the practice of earmarking, which became synonymous with government waste and pork-barrel spending during the Congress of the early 2000’s. This isn’t the first time Republicans have tried to resuscitate earmarks. In 2014, a similar earmark amendment was defeated by the GOP conference.
Reps. John Culberson of Texas, Mike Rogers of Alabama, and Tom Rooney of Florida are listed as sponsors of the amendment. The amendment would bring back legislative earmarks for some government agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Bureau of Reclamation. It also would allow lawmakers to provide earmarks for state and local governments, except for recreational facilities, museums, or parks. Lawmakers would also be able to request earmarks as as long as the sponsoring member is identified, the earmarks initiate in committee, and they don’t increase spending.
Right before the closed door vote, House Speaker Paul Ryan successfully lobbied his Republican colleagues to postpone a vote on a proposal to bring back earmarks. Ryan told members, according to a GOP source in the room:
“We just had a ‘drain the swamp’ election, Let’s not just turn around and bring back earmarks two weeks later.”
House GOP members applauded and agreed to put off the issue until the first quarter of 2017. Multiple House Republicans said the proposal to reverse the ban was on track to pass in a closed door meeting before Ryan argued to slow down the process. Supporters of the change argued that ban on earmarks went too far because they can’t direct funding to much-needed projects in their districts. They say the shift gave too much power to the White House and unelected bureaucrats in federal agencies who now decide where to spend the money.
“The last thing Republicans should do is change conference rules to facilitate this horse-trading,” an aide told The Daily Signal. “Hillary Clinton got in trouble for her pay-to-play behavior, and the American people should rightfully be concerned about how members of Congress can get trapped in corruption of earmarks.”
Heritage Action’s Needham suggested the return of earmarks sends the wrong message to voters a week after Trump’s historic victory. He said, “Americans in both parties are fed up with the cronyism and corruption in Washington, and seven days ago they delivered a stunning message to the nation’s ruling class.”
Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin echoed that sentiment in a statement to The Daily Signal:
“Any member of Congress who votes to bring back old-school, backroom, pork-barrel spending through earmarks is putting himself or herself firmly against the American people who just elected Donald Trump president, as he campaigned emphatically on the issue of draining the swamp in Washington. Did they learn nothing at all from these elections? People are tired of business as usual in D.C. This is not a show of good faith, it’s a show of callous cynicism and hypocrisy.”
So, like I keep saying, these RINO Globalist puppets need to be watched at all times. But do remember that the ones trying this are from the OLD regime. The new reps arrive with President Trump!
Term limits will help to control this problem. We will need to be vigilant and “call out” all the corruption and dirty dealing we find. Stand and be heard, TRUMP cannot be expected to do it all on his own. He will be swimming in a pool of collusion and corruption in DC. After all, AMERICA belongs to all of us and all of us must be willing to help in any way we can!