Four lawmakers offer bill to permanently ban earmarks

Four lawmakers offer bill to permanently ban earmarks
© Greg Nash

Two Republican and two Democratic lawmakers are offering legislation to permanently ban the use of earmarks, pushing back on others in Congress who would like to see a return of the direct spending items.

“This bill is about sending a clear message: that the days of pork-barrel spending ended in 2011,” the four lawmakers said in a statement.

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Reps. Ted BuddTheodore (Ted) Paul Budd‘Unmasking Antifa Act' includes 15-year prison term proposal Election Countdown: Calls to abolish ICE test Dem candidates | First round of House GOP 'Young Guns' | How Tester is handling Trump's Montana visit | Dem candidate won't back Schumer as leader | Super PACs ramp up Missouri ad buys Selling government assets would be a responsible move in infrastructure deal MORE (R-N.C.), Jim CooperJames (Jim) Hayes Shofner CooperOvernight Defense: VA pick breezes through confirmation hearing | House votes to move on defense bill negotiations | Senate bill would set 'stringent' oversight on North Korea talks Republicans top Dems at charity golf game Obstacles to Trump's 'Space Force' could keep proposal grounded for now MORE (D-Tenn.), Kathleen RiceKathleen Maura RiceDem rep: ‘No reason’ to lose track of immigrant children Pelosi needs big cushion to return as Speaker Four lawmakers offer bill to permanently ban earmarks MORE (D-N.Y.) and Ralph NormanRalph Warren NormanHouse conservatives criticize media, not Trump, for Putin furor Races to watch in Tuesday’s primaries Dem wins South Carolina congressional primary despite abuse revelation MORE (R-S.C.) offered the legislation, which would forbid Congress from passing a bill that included an earmark.

“Earmarks encourage the worst behavior because they tempt people in Congress to steal taxpayer money to benefit big contributors or grease their own reelection,” Budd said. 

Budd is the only one of the four lawmakers in a competitive race in this year’s midterm elections. The Cook Political Report rates his district as leaning Republican.

Reps. John Culberson (R-Texas), Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) are among the lawmakers who have called on Congress to revisit the issue of earmarks, which were prohibited under House rules when former Rep. John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFive GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus Ex-lawmakers see tough job market with trade groups Veterans are left out of medical marijuana protections MORE (R-Ohio) was Speaker.

They argue that bringing back earmarks could help the legislative process, make it easier to pass bills and basically make Congress function better. President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want to use 'adversary' to describe Russia Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterms Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism MORE earlier this year said Republicans might want to think about bringing earmarks back.

Opponents argue earmarks will lead to more wasteful spending on pet projects.

Congress last week approved a $1.3 trillion omnibus that was harshly criticized by fiscal hawks. It did not include earmarks.