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.

ADVERTISEMENT

Reps. Ted BuddTheodore (Ted) Paul BuddRepublican Ted Budd holds off challenger to win reelection in North Carolina Election Day: An hour-by-hour viewer’s guide Jockeying already stepping up in House leadership fights MORE (R-N.C.), Jim CooperJames (Jim) Hayes Shofner CooperWHIP LIST: Pelosi seeks path to 218 16 Dems sign letter opposing Pelosi as Speaker Divided Congress to clash over Space Force, nuclear arsenal MORE (D-Tenn.), Kathleen RiceKathleen Maura RicePelosi agrees to term limits vote; insurgency collapses Dem strategist: 'Every elected male should be concerned about a female challenger in 2020' WHIP LIST: Pelosi seeks path to 218 MORE (D-N.Y.) and Ralph NormanRalph Warren NormanSouth Carolina New Members 2019 House conservatives want ethics probe into Dems' handling of Kavanaugh allegations Milwaukee County GOP mocks Kavanaugh accusation, says Ginsburg claimed Lincoln 'grabbed my ass' 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 BoehnerOpening day of new Congress: Not always total joy Meadows looks to make his move Fractious GOP vows to unify in House minority 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 TrumpProsecutors investigating Trump inaugural fund, pro-Trump super PAC for possible illegal foreign donations: NY Times George Conway: Why take Trump's word over prosecutors' if he 'lies about virtually everything' Federal judge says lawsuit over Trump travel ban waivers will proceed 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.