Earmarks Poised for a Comeback
House Democrats are openly pushing for the return of earmarks – the special spending requests from individual members that were abolished in 2011.
The reason for bringing them back? Supposedly, to help make the budgeting process more open and accountable. And they aren’t “earmarks” anyone. They are “directed spending.”
As Veronique de Rugy writes, it doesn’t matter what they are called. Congress spends gobs of money we don’t have on projects and policies well outside the federal government’s responsibilities:
But if the Constitution is to guide us, we must ask whether Congress should be spending that money at all. I understand that most earmarks are boring, e.g., funding exit-ramp construction on a highway. I even understand how restoring earmarks could promote bipartisanship. Though, considering the size of government, I’d argue there’s plenty of bipartisanship already. In spite of all this, it’s obvious to me that Congress has no place funding such local projects through earmarks or in any other way.
The Constitution is rarely a guide, never mind a restraint, for congressional appropriators of either major party. It’s likely earmarks or “directed spending” will return.
Because almost nothing can stand in the way of a member of Congress eager to bring home the bacon.