A House Democrat indicated Thursday that lawmakers are getting around the new ban on earmarks by convincing Obama administration officials to fund their pet projects.
Rep. Jim MoranJim MoranTen House seats Dems hope Trump will tilt The Hill's 12:30 Report Big names free to lobby in 2016 MORE (D-Va.), an appropriator, made the remarks during an appearance on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" program.
In response to a question about whether earmark bans have "curtailed" the Appropriations Committee's power, Moran responded, "No, and I have to say — and I'm going to be as candid as possible — the appropriators are going to be okay because we know people in agencies and so on. We will continue to do the best job we can for the country and to some extent for our congressional districts because that's our job as well."
"But I feel quite strongly that the writers of the Constitution knew what they were doing when they gave the power of the purse to the Congress," Moran said.
The new House GOP majority has embraced a moratorium on earmarks, as has the Senate Appropriations Committee.
In his State of the Union address earlier this year, President Obama vowed to veto any bill that included earmarks.
Moran said that despite the moratoriums, earmarking has not vanished.
"I was a budget officer in the Nixon administration, back in the late 60s, early 70s. Every dollar was earmarked. It's just a question of who does the earmarking," Moran said. "It seems to me that everyone would be far better off if Congress took back its appropriate role and distributed funds... that is in the best interest of the country and then let the executive branch weigh in so you have some balance."
This article was updated at 6:04 p.m.