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 BuddTrump calls North Carolina redistricting ruling ‘unfair’ The Hill's Morning Report: Trump shifts campaign focus from Senate to House Conservative group pledges .5 million for 12 House GOP candidates MORE (R-N.C.), Jim CooperJames (Jim) Hayes Shofner CooperSenate emerges as obstacle to Trump’s 'Space Force' Pentagon’s No. 2 official: Trump’s ‘Space Force’ could cost 'billions' Ex-astronaut: Trump's plan for a Space Force 'redundant,' 'wasteful' MORE (D-Tenn.), Kathleen RiceKathleen Maura RiceReforms can stop members of Congress from using their public office for private gain The Hill's Morning Report — Dems split on key issues but united against Trump Trump ally suspends reelection campaign MORE (D-N.Y.) and Ralph NormanRalph Warren NormanHouse conservatives criticize media, not Trump, for Putin furor Races to watch in Tuesday’s primaries Dem wins South Carolina congressional primary despite abuse revelation 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 BoehnerJordan hits campaign trail amid bid for Speaker GOP senator says he 'regularly' considers leaving Republican Party Republicans mull new punishments for dissident lawmakers 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 TrumpOver 100 lawmakers consistently voted against chemical safeguards: study CNN's Anderson Cooper unloads on Trump Jr. for spreading 'idiotic' conspiracy theories about him Cohn: Jamie Dimon would be 'phenomenal' president 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.