04.03.2012 0

Are earmarks returning?

Our National DebtBy Adam Bitely — After just 14 months at the levers of power of the House, it appears that some House Republicans are ready to admit that they have been unsuccessful in kicking their spending addictions.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) is suggesting to House Republicans that the ban on earmarking be lifted so that members of Congress could “grease the wheels” of legislation in an effort to pass bills faster. The ban was put in place shortly after Republicans, backed heavily by Tea Party conservatives calling for more fiscal responsibility in Congress, won the majority in the House during the Fall 2010 midterm elections. The ban is set to automatically expire at the end of this session of Congress at the end of the year.

Bill Wilson, President of Americans for Limited Government, said, “This is an open acknowledgement that earmarks are nothing more than legislative bribery to buy votes. But what it represents is a further repudiation by leadership of the principles that got them in power in the first place. In 2010, Republicans pledged to ‘put us on a path to balance the budget and pay down the debt.’”

Rogers says he has a lot of support amongst House Republicans to get the earmark ban lifted, an issue which he brought up at a recent meeting of Republican members of the House. As Rogers  put it, “There was a lot of applause when I made my comments. I had a few freshman boo me, but that’s okay. By and large it was very well embraced.”

And after Rogers called on House Republicans to lift the ban, Speaker John Boehner has said he would form a committee to investigate earmark reform — a move seen as lending support to considering the return of pork barrel spending.

House Republicans admitting that they would consider bringing back the practice of pork barrel spending is a further admittance that this group has failed to slow down the out-of-control spending that they were sent to Washington by the voters to fix. As we saw last week, many House Republicans stood with Democrats to stop a budget plan from the Republican Study Committee that would have balanced the budget in five years.

Allowing members of Congress to resume trading votes for pet projects in their districts is not going to result in any more fiscal responsibility than we have seen from this Congress already — government spending will only get worse.

As Wilson said, “This trial balloon comes atop a minority of the House Republicans defeating a Republican Study Committee fiscal plan last week that would have balanced the budget in five years. It comes atop failures to enact significant reforms in the continuing resolution and debt ceiling debates. And the failure of the Supercommittee to achieve anything meaningful.”

House Republicans came to power in the House in 2010 with a mandate from voters to stop the waste of the taxpayers’ money. Since that time though, the looting and pillaging of the taxpayer has continued relatively unhindered. The least House Republicans can do is keep in place a safeguard against the worst form of government largesse — members of Congress taking money from group A to strictly benefit group B at the expense of group A.

If House Republicans are at all serious about creating an environment of fiscal responsibility inside of Congress, they will do good to keep the earmark ban in place and to do everything in their power to make sure it is renewed at the end of the year.

Adam Bitely is the Editor-in-Chief of NetRightDaily.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @AdamBitely.

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