Congress

Earmarks Are Back

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

It's official -- House Democrats already voted to resurrect earmarks that will make it easier to pass spending legislation by giving lawmakers more of what they want in their own districts, but House Republicans have now joined them.

In their own words, Republican say this is about gaining more control of where future spending will be directed.

From Reuters:

“There’s a real concern about the administration directing where money goes. This doesn’t add one more dollar. I think members here know ... about what should go in their district, not Biden,” Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters ahead of the decision being announced. [...]

When Republicans took control of the House in 2011, they banned the practice. Urged by Democratic President Barack Obama, the Democratic-led Senate soon followed suit. Earmarks have been gone since.

I'm actually not convinced that Republicans know what's best for their own constituents, but they can say and think whatever they want about this. It doesn't matter.

This does not necessarily mean the Republican party as a whole will start voting for large spending bills just because it would also fund a museum in their home town, or whatever, but it will make it more likely that congressional leaders can peel off more bipartisan votes.

President Biden is expected to cover the details of his "Build Back Better" infrastructure plan during a joint session of Congress and earmarks will be key to passing it. Give Joe Manchin whatever he wants. Give Republicans whatever they want if they will vote for it.