On Friday, the House GOP voted to retain the ban on earmarks. Via Speaker Boehner’s office:
The House Republican majority in the House of Representatives has renewed the landmark ban on earmarks for the 113th Congress.
Speaker [mc_name name=’Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B000589′ ] “has been a longtime proponent of the earmark ban,” reports The Hill, “having never requested any so-called ‘pork barrel’ spending during his tenure in the House.”
When House Republicans first adopted the earmark ban proposed by [mc_name name=’Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’D000614′ ] (R-WI) two years ago, Speaker Boehner said earmarks had “become a symbol of a Congress that has broken faith with the people.” Boehner described banning earmarks – which had grown in number under recent majorities run by both parties – as a “critical step to restore public trust.”
Unfortunately, the vote was not unanimous. Noted porker, Alabama representative Mike Rodgers has been agitating against the earmark ban since its inception.
Rogers argued the Republican House would be better at doling out earmarks than the president. Under current House rules, appropriations bills can include specific line-item spending projects as long as the president includes it in his budget. That has given the administration too much spending influence, Rogers said.
“I do not believe most people trust how President Obama spends our tax dollars,” Rogers said in a statement after the vote. “This proposal would allow the conservative, Republican-controlled House to reassert its Constitutional authority over the Obama Administration and the spending decisions it is currently making.”
The Rogers proposal would have allowed earmarks only for state and local governments and public utilities.
Such an exception would have allowed for the construction of a “bridge to nowhere” some other place. Via The Hill:
“We had a very vigorous discussion. There’s no change in our policy; the ban stills exists,” [mc_name name=’Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C001053′ ] (R-Okla.) said after the vote.
Cole said it was rejected by a “big margin” of about 2.5 to 1.
Great news until you consider that better than a third of the caucus desired a return to the bad old days and you can bet that third consists of the most senior members of the caucus.
As Erick noted, the next big hurdle is the Senate. Despite the howling of the K Street swineherds, the vote by the House plus the tenor of the 2014 election makes it more likely than not that the earmark ban will survive another Congress.