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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 BuddCredit union group to spend .8 million for vulnerable Dem, GOP incumbents Cook Political Report moves 5 GOP-held seats towards Dems Trump calls North Carolina redistricting ruling ‘unfair’ MORE (R-N.C.), Jim CooperJames (Jim) Hayes Shofner CooperCelebrity endorsements aren't kingmakers, but they may be tiebreakers Taylor Swift reportedly sees bump in album sales after endorsing Democrats Pollster says celebrity endorsements rarely have major impact on elections MORE (D-Tenn.), Kathleen RiceKathleen Maura RiceHouse Dems punt action on rule change for Speaker nominee Hoyer questions feasibility of new threshold for Speaker nomination Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE (D-N.Y.) and Ralph NormanRalph Warren NormanHouse conservatives want ethics probe into Dems' handling of Kavanaugh allegations Milwaukee County GOP mocks Kavanaugh accusation, says Ginsburg claimed Lincoln 'grabbed my ass' Kavanaugh fight roils an already ugly political climate 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 BoehnerHouston Chronicle endorses Beto O'Rourke in Texas Senate race The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Citi — House postpones Rosenstein meeting | Trump hits Dems over Medicare for all | Hurricane Michael nears landfall Kavanaugh becomes new flashpoint in midterms defined by anger 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 TrumpCorker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Five takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation 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.