House Democrats Seek to Resurrect Earmarks, Special Interest Cronyism

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If there was ever proof that the elected class couldn’t care less what their constituents want this is it. With a very slim lead forming in the US House, Democrat leadership is looking to reinstate the practice of “earmarking’ pet project funding in piece of legislation going through the chamber.

House Democrat leaders are moving forward with plans to bring back the shady practice of “earmarks” in the 117th Congress.

An earmark, by political definition, is a provision inserted into a non-constitutionally mandated spending bill that directs taxpayer dollars to a specific member of Congress for pet projects in their districts while sidestepping the merit-based or competitive funds allocation process.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), said that once the new Appropriations Committee chair is seated – presumably the week of Nov. 30, they will begin soliciting House lawmakers to “ask for congressional initiatives for their districts and their states.”

Those vying for the position of chair of the House Appropriations Committee include Reps. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).

Hoyer said he’s optimistic that both Republicans and Democrats will embrace the return of the process, noting that Democrats and Republicans have been saber rattling about bringing back earmarks since House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), added a ban to House rules in 2011.

Senate Republicans made their earmark prohibition permanent in 2019, but some party members, including Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL), support resurrecting the practice.

When Democrats regained control of the House in 2019 the embargo on earmarks in that chamber technically ended. Internal discussions immediately began about when and how to bring back “congressionally directed spending.”