Despite election results that were a referendum against “business as usual” in Washington, DC, a member of Congress from Texas wants to give pork-barrel spending new life.
According to the Daily Signal, Republican US Rep. John Culberson of Harris County is behind an effort to let Congress start doing “earmarks” again. Earmarks were the budgeting gimmick banned by the House GOP in 2011 after producing such notorious pork projects as the $223 million “Bridge to Nowhere“.
Culberson says the earmark ban has resulted in “less transparency.” On his website, Culberson says his plan would “to authorize projects in a geographically specific location for federal, state, or local governments”
A secret vote on Culberson’s plan by the House Republican caucus could happen on Wednesday.
“Modifying the current earmark ban will restore Congress’s constitutional duty and allow us to more effectively use the power of the purse to rein in the Administration and unelected bureaucrats,” writes Culberson on his congressional website.
His excuse doesn’t fly with the Club for Growth. The influential organization is coming down hard against Culberson’s plan.
“This is a test of whether Republicans are listening to the American people,” said Club for Growth’s president, David McIntosh.
“It’s been barely a week since voters sent a resounding rejection of Washington insider politics, and yet House Republicans are already on the verge of proving they’re tone deaf. Earmarks represent the worst of inside-the-beltway gamesmanship, by enticing Members to vote for big-government bills with the lure of getting tax dollars for big projects back in their districts,” added McIntosh, a former congressman. “House Republicans banned earmarks in 2011, but some have been trying to get back their spending power ever since. Voters believed that Republicans would ‘drain the swamp,’ not redirect it for their own benefit. Any effort to restore this kind of cronyism should be flatly rejected.”
UPDATED with links to Culberson’s website.