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 BoehnerMarch is the biggest month for GOP in a decade House markup of ObamaCare repeal bill up in the air Conservatives to Congress: Get moving MORE (R-Ohio) opposed the resolution, Cole said, and made the case against reversing the current ban. 

“[BoehnerJohn BoehnerMarch is the biggest month for GOP in a decade House markup of ObamaCare repeal bill up in the air Conservatives to Congress: Get moving 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 DuffyJuan Williams: Can Congress curb Trump? Buyer beware: Not all 'milk' is created equal GOP loses top Senate contenders 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.