House Democrats Push for Return of Earmarks
Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.
The U.S. House of Representatives banned using earmarks to ease the passage of legislation back in 2011. Now, three Democrats vying to lead the House Appropriations Committee next year want to bring them back:
Marcy Kaptur of Ohio and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida have each committed to bringing back earmarks if chosen as the Appropriations Committee’s top Democrat after the November elections. A third candidate, Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, didn’t embrace that stance but didn’t rule it out, saying it was “premature” to discuss restoring earmarks at this stage.
Earmarks were long viewed as a kind of gateway drug to bigger government. The political class has demonstrated it is quite capable of expanding government without earmarks. But these hometown spending items were a source of public corruption, which was a key reason for the initial ban.
But memories are very short on Capitol Hill, particularly when other people’s money is involved:
[Florida Rep. Debbie] Wasserman Schultz said the GOP’s ban on earmarks was and remains a “campaign messaging stunt.”
“Members best understand the needs of our communities,” Wasserman Schultz wrote to House colleagues. “The earmark ban ceded the power of the purse to unelected bureaucrats who are currently beholden to an erratic, lawless president.”
Congress could tell the bureaucracy how to spend every penny it appropriates. But that would mean giving up the “bureaucrats are the problem, not Congress” excuse.
Image Credit: By Jericho [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons