It still amazes me that members of Congress literally couldn’t care less that the very people who elected them to their positions of power are sick and tired of the “business as usual” model. That’s one of the reasons why former President Donald Trump was so undeniably popular — he put an immediate end to the establishment, swamp-like shenanigans.
However, following Trump’s departure from Capitol Hill, new reports are emerging that suggest House Republicans are considering joining Democrats in playing the “earmark” game, which in layman’s terms, are shady, slimy methods for members of Congress to add pet projects to massive bills and enrich themselves in the process.
Hopefully, Republicans won’t stoop that low, but only time will tell.
Reuters has the story:
U.S. House Republicans are weighing whether to join Democrats in getting back into “earmarks” – the practice of loading spending bills with legislators’ pet projects – and a decision is expected this week, two sources familiar with the process said .
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.
A move to participate in earmarks will draw criticism from the Republican Party’s conservative wing, which has long criticized the practice as wasteful. It may also signal that Republicans are willing to negotiate on President Joe Biden’s next major agenda item: a massive infrastructure package.
Earmarks are considered legislative “sweeteners” that Democrats, who control both houses of Congress, can use to dissuade its members from defecting on major bills and attract votes from Republicans who otherwise would reject the measure.
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.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office did not return calls and emails on Tuesday seeking comment.
Senator Mitch McConnell, who leads the Republicans in the upper chamber, has not ruled out supporting earmarks. However, he would face opposition from members.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio joined nine other senators in introducing legislation earlier this month that would permanently ban earmarks.
“For decades, Congress abused the trust and faith of the American people by handing out earmarks to well-connected businesses, campaign donors, and others who could afford a high-priced lobbyist,” Rubio said.
Earmarks became a hot campaign issue in the early 2000s after a long string of scandals in which lawmakers from both parties secured earmarks to enrich themselves.
Should Republicans choose the dark side again, hopefully, Trump will step in and intervene, using his political influence in the upcoming 2022 midterms to steer them back on the right course.
ARTICLE SOURCE: thefederalistpapers.org