Would a Return of Earmarks Stop the Swamp-Draining?

‘This is beyond the pale, And stupid politically….’

Should Congress return to pork-barrel spending?

(Quin Hillyer, Liberty Headlines) Many conservative activists reacted with disgust and anger this week as congressional Republicans and President Trump floated proposals to end the ban on pork-barrel “earmarks” in federal spending bills.

Earmarks are directives in appropriations bills to finance specific local projects that might not otherwise be eligible, or at least not obviously so, for funding within the bill in question.

Probably the most infamous earmark was the “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska – a project slated to cost $398 million, to reach a community of just 50 people.

After negative publicity, that earmark was revoked in 2005.

Negative public reaction to the Alaskan bridge catalyzed a national movement against earmarks that culminated in a general congressional ban on the practice beginning in 2011.

A number of congressmen, however, have long argued that earmarks allow Congress to exercise more specific control of taxpayer money – and also, by providing constituent rewards as lures for cooperation, help legislators achieve compromises necessary to reach agreement on “must pass” legislation.

That was the argument adopted by Trump on Tuesday, who said “I hear so much about earmarks — the old earmark system — how there was a great friendliness when you had earmarks…. [M]aybe all of you should start thinking about going back to a form of earmarks.”

Conservative congressman and activist groups, however, swiftly denounced the suggestion.

“If Republicans bring back earmarks, then it virtually guarantees that they will lose the House,” said former congressman David McIntosh, now president of the Club for Growth. “Bringing back earmarks is the antithesis of draining the swamp. Earmarks will only benefit the special interests that grow government at the expense of working men and women.”

The Club for Growth and nine other fiscally conservative organizations sent a letter to Trump on Wednesday calling earmarks “corrupt, inequitable, and wasteful.”

Directly addressing Trump’s argument about “friendliness,” the organizations wrote that “earmarks do not help members get along better; they unfairly benefit a select group at the expense of everyone else.”

One of those groups, FreedomWorks, was particularly scathing, with vice president Jason Pye saying:

This is beyond the pale. And stupid politically.

Republicans just barely got in one significant accomplishment with tax reform before the end of 2017.

Now they want to bring back one of the things that caused Republicans to lose control of the House in 2006, just in time for the 2018 midterms.

Too many Republicans are now working to bring back the little bit of the swamp we have successfully drained.

Earmarks represent corruption, with appropriators doling out pork to buy votes.

Republicans should focus on keeping their campaign promises instead of feeding the alligators in the swamp.

It wasn’t only hard-line conservatives who blasted the idea of re-welcoming earmarks.

Veteran Republican U.S. Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina, one of the most ideologically quirky of all GOP congressmen, said this:

I saw with my own eyes the corruption and fiscal irresponsibility wrought by earmarks.

Members of Congress went to jail because of earmarks.

Deficits ballooned because of earmarks.

The problems on Capitol Hill are many. Returning to pork barrel spending will make them all worse.

If Trump and congressional leaders persist, they probably face quite a donnybrook.

**MORE COVERAGE OF EARMARKS at LibertyHeadlines.com**

Nearly a full year ago, on January 26 of 2017, a group of 81 conservative leaders, most of them affiliated with different individual organizations, signed a letter warning lawmakers against resuming earmarks.

Still, with Trump’s support, earmarks could gain traction.

A few conservative House members, such as Florida’s freshman Rep. Matt Gaetz, said earmarks return control to elected lawmakers rather than unelected, executive branch drones.

“I think one way to drain the swamp,” Gaetz said, “is to return power to the elected representatives of the people and to not have decisions made by bureaucrats in windowless cubicles with, you know, green shades on their reading glasses.”

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  • Alibaba

    Yeah, another proof of IQ of ” stable genius “!…

    • Lynn Johnston

      No, BABA, it means it’s on the Table for discussion. Like people of a FREE country do!! I personally don’t think they should be added to a Bill to pass it, but I’m understanding that I am not the negotiatior or All knowing either!

      • Alibaba

        OK, it’s on the table for discussion, but Trump is in its favor and pushing it! What is he thinking? If he thinks at all!

  • slk5

    it does make you wonder…no earmarks and the anti trumps go berserk!!!

  • NO thanks to pork barreling. Bad idea, period.

  • Smitty503

    The swamp is rearing it’s ugly head every day now

  • Ed Campbell

    The fn RINO’s just don’t get it

  • Somanywhiners

    Getting rid of earmarks did not even set up a hose to begin draining the swamp. GET RID OF PROFESSIONAL POLITICIANS! TERM LIMITS!!!!!!!!!!

  • John


  • Al

    Get rid of the politicians that use our money like candy.

  • RickFromDetroit

    The ideal time to drain the swamp and cut the pork is NOW! Congress, take your spring break immediately.

    Let the debt ceiling collapse next Friday, and worry about what to do next when you return in the summer. The tax cut is all we needed, so let the private sector take over.

    And don’t get cold feet this time like you have in the past, Cluck, cluck.

  • Maxine Albritton

    I did not realize we got rid of pork barrel legislation. I thought we were still porking it. I guess with the lobbying taking place who would know. I hope the immigration problem is correctly solved. No daca, wall built, end chain migration. properly vetted only to come into the US.

  • Rippie

    Yet another highly offensive consideration by the Bloviating Orange “stable genius” Dotard.

    Earmarks are just a manifestation of the aphorism: “The Love of Money is the Root of all Evil.”

    Hiding things on the sly is what cannot be permitted again in the Federal government.

  • ADRoberts

    We know. Earmarks are corruption where politicians buy more votes to stay in office.