President Trump said Tuesday that Congress should consider bringing back earmarks to improve bipartisanship and pass more legislation. 
 
“Maybe we should think about it,” Trump told a group of roughly two dozen lawmakers at the White House. “Maybe all of you should think about going back to a form of earmarks. You should do it.”
 
Former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) banned earmarks, which have been derided as “pork-barrel spending,” after Republicans retook the House in 2010.
 
{mosads}But House Republicans are debating whether to bring back earmarks, even as some members blast them as a symbol of the so-called swamp in Washington, D.C., that Trump campaigned against.
 
 
Trump’s remarks Tuesday appeared to give that push a boost. 
 
“We have to put better controls because it got a little out of hand, but that brings people together,” the president said.
 
Trump said the “levels of hatred” among Republicans and Democrats are “out of control” and that earmarks could help solve it. 
 
He recalled a bygone era when members of both parties bonded over meals and late-night talks in the nation’s capital. 
 
Trump turned to House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and asked, “When’s the last time you took a Republican out to dinner?”
 
The president spoke during a bipartisan meeting on spending and immigration. Congress has reached an impasse on the issues ahead of a Jan. 19 government shutdown deadline.
 
Trump is trying to position himself as a bipartisan leader ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. 
 
Unlike last year, when Trump and the GOP passed a sweeping tax bill along party lines, the president will need bipartisan support if he wants to get major legislation done. 
 
Trump is hoping to pass an infrastructure bill that would authorize road, bridge and rail projects around the country. Earmarks have historically been used to pass such legislation. 
 
Groups on the right blasted Trump’s remarks as a betrayal. 
 
“Bringing back earmarks is the antithesis of draining the swamp,” said David McIntosh, president of the conservative Club for Growth. “Earmarks will only benefit the special interests that grow government at the expense of working men and women.”
 
Tags Boehner Donald Trump Donald Trump Earmark Infrastructure John Boehner John Boehner Steny Hoyer

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more

Video

See all Video