Congressional GOP Close to Embracing Earmarks

Written by SK Ashby

Republicans in Congress uniformly opposed the coronavirus spending package that will be sent to President Biden's desk today after it clears the House, but congressional Republicans are reportedly considering a proposal that could convince at least some of them to vote for the next big package.

Congressional Republican sources who spoke to Reuters say they're privately leaning toward resurrecting earmarks for their pet projects.

The sources said Republicans in the House of Representatives deliberated on the issue twice this week, and sentiment is growing toward embracing earmarks roughly a decade after the party decided to scrap the long-standing practice amid a raft of high-profile controversies. Democrats who control the House agreed to bring back earmarks this year. [...]

If Republicans agree to participate in earmarks, they are signaling they could be engaged on an infrastructure bill and may be willing to give support if it means getting funding for popular projects in their districts.

“It would certainly suggest members are preparing for talks around the budget and infrastructure,” said a source familiar with the discussions.

As I said before, I think this is good news. If Republicans agree to add their own earmarks to a spending bill, it will offer the best chance yet to actually do something without using reconciliation.

Frankly, I don't care what any of them want. Maybe some of them will request an earmark for an actual bridge to nowhere. I don't know and I don't care; give it to them as long as they vote for the greater package that also includes everyone other member's earmarks.

Congressional Republicans have undoubtedly taken note that Senator Joe Manchin is embracing tax hikes and earmarks and will likely come onboard if reconciliation is eventually necessary. This is their chance to actually get a piece of the pie instead of sitting on their hands for the next two years. If they don't, Manchin and other Democrats will get whatever they want and they'll easily retain control of the Senate.

The coronavirus pandemic changed everything and most Americans actually want Congress to spend more money. Public polling tells us concerns about the deficit and debt have faded from public consciousness.