Type to search

U.S. News & Politics

Earmarks Are Never A Winning Political Strategy


House Republicans keep thinking they can “build a better mousetrap” when it comes to federal earmarks. Their actions keep making the case for Congress to ban them (again) outright.

Following a controversy earlier this year surrounding earmark requests for LGBT groups, congressional leaders think they have established enough “reforms” to prevent similar disputes from emerging. But a better question surrounds why lawmakers think these pork-barrel programs are worth the political bother to begin with.

New Request Guidelines

In late April, the newly installed chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., issued guidance for representatives requesting earmarks (er, “community project funding”). The guidance highlighted “one notable change … non-profits are no longer eligible for community project funding in the economic development initiative account.”

Multiple press reports indicate this change arose from Republican objections to Democratic member requests that sent earmark funding to LGBT-affiliated groups. In March, as Congress considered two massive pseudo-omnibus spending bills, lawmakers stripped out a $1 million earmark for the William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia, in large part because “a conservative activist found a fetish group hosts a monthly party at the community center.”

Stripping out the earmark represented the rare case of Congress doing the right thing and standing up for taxpayers, not to mention common sense. But neither stripping out this particularly questionable request, nor reforming the process in the way Cole has outlined, will solve the larger problem it raises.

In an interview with reporters, Cole defended the change to exclude nonprofits from certain earmarks: “Some of these are unobjectionable, some of them create political problems for people. That’s just the reality of it. I shouldn’t have to have a political problem in my district because I voted for a bill that had your earmark in it.”

But earmarks don’t

Continue Reading at The Federalist.

The Federalist

A web magazine of culture, entertainment, and politics. Be lovers of freedom and anxious for the fray.

  • 1

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.