GOP “Bans” Earmarks, Udall Joins the Fight

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Read more at Policystation.org

Well, the GOP Caucus passed the “ban” on earmarks yesterday. As I said last week, the move was completely symbolic and non-binding, so the GOP can now claim that they have taken a serious move to cut spending, even though they can still request earmarks if they choose and earmarks account for only about 1-2% of federal spending anyway.

Interestingly enough, according to the Wall Street Journal, only three Senators have broken the $300million mark for personal earmarks, and two of them were Republicans. Coming in first place is Republican Senator Thad Cochran from Mississippi, who has personally secured almost $500million for his state in FY2010 and is the only person to have over $400million.

And now, Colorado’s Senator Udall has joined the fight. And it might not be in the way you expect.

Senator Udall posted a message on his Twitter yesterday afternoon, indicating that he would support an across-the-board ban on earmarks.

Mark Udall: “I’m calling for an end to the wasteful and influence-laden process of earmarking.”

According to USA Today, President Obama has yet to come down firmly anywhere, yet, though he did release a statement yesterday signalling that he will be open to the idea.

As President, I’ve called for new limitations on earmarks and set new, higher standards of transparency and accountability.

Of course, a ban on earmarks favors the sitting President, as all the previously mandated spending will now be up to him to divide and disperse as he sees fit. So while the Republicans have only passed a symbolic and ultimately meaningless gesture, the President has the opportunity to one-up them by announcing that he will veto any bill that includes earmarks, which would both please the electorate and give him and his cabinet more power.

On Thursday, the White House is hosting a large bipartisan dinner. The agenda hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s hard to imagine that this topic won’t come up, maybe as they are serving up the pork.

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6 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. rusty_shackleford says:

    what a significant move! Our voices are finally being heard!

    /teahadist

    • ThillyWabbit says:

      He’s been a loud and constant critic of the earmark system, only seeking them as a last resort when he could not get whatever committee of reference to consider a directed spending proposal and give it an up-or-down vote.

      I’d be happier if his staff didn’t frame it in terms of out-of-control spending because earmarks are always directed spending of already-appropriated funds, so getting rid of them is not going to change the bottom line by one cent. All it does is change who does the earmarking, as IndyNinja pointed out.

      That being said, earmarks are the most visible example of the corrupt pay-for-play system that we have, and those are the grounds on which I think it’s both politically and policy-wise a good idea to eliminate the practice.

      I also know that Udall is focused on where spending is actually out of control–health care and defense–and that he knows eliminating earmarks won’t do anything to fix the deficit. But it could do a lot to improve the Congress’s well-deserved, crappy public approval ratings.

  2. Fidel's dirt nap says:

    Its a non-binding resolution, but to Mcconnel its an epic and heroic struggle for the American people.

    What an asshole.

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