House GOP rejects return of earmarks

House Republicans on Friday overwhelmingly rejected bringing earmarks back to spending bills.

The decision was made at a closed-door meeting of the House GOP conference after Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) sought to change the conference's rules prohibiting earmarks.

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Rogers proposed that earmarks for specific projects be allowed at entities like local and state governments, and universities. 

“We had a very vigorous discussion. There’s no change in our policy; the ban stills exists,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said after the vote. 

Cole said it was rejected by a “big margin” of about 2.5 to 1. 

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE (R-Ohio) opposed the resolution, Cole said, and made the case against reversing the current ban. 

“[BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE] pointed out there’s been a lot of corruption with this in the past; there’s been a lot of abuses with this … chairmen aggrandizing themselves, and it wasn’t a fair distribution, and it wasn’t awarded on merit,” Cole added.

Republicans should discuss the issue of earmarks with Democrats and even the Senate, Cole said. 

Rep. Sean DuffySean Patrick DuffyThe Hill's 12:30 Report GOP rep: I have read ‘wide swaths’ of tax bill, not the whole thing The Republican tax bill will cut thousands of Puerto Rico jobs MORE (R-Wis.) took credit for leading the charge against reinstating earmarks.

"I again spoke against earmarks, just as I did in 2010 when, in my first act as the representative of Wisconsin's 7th District, I introduced a ban on earmarks that was adopted by both House and Senate Republicans,” Duffy said. "I am pleased that my Republican colleagues have, once again, taken a stand for fiscal responsibility.”

House Republicans first adopted the earmark ban in 2010.