A return to earmarks?: Pigs return to the trough
Leave it to a big-spending government apologist like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to suggest bringing back congressional earmarks to grease the sputtering appropriations process.
“They'll come back,” the Nevada Democrat says — “it's only a question of time because that's our constitutional obligation.”
A congressional moratorium in 2011 put the brakes on what some call “specially-tailored spending provisions,” otherwise known as pork. And whereas some lawmakers still have managed to get “carve-outs” since then, according to The Heritage Foundation, the measure has been effective in slowing spending.
Consider the recently passed $12.3 billion water resources bill. Its predecessor, 2007's $23 billion “porkfest,” included all manner of goodies for projects with little, if anything, to do with water.
Earmarks peaked in 2006, when Congress designated more than 15,800 of them, amounting to nearly $72 billion for projects dictated by political, not public, needs.
Lawmakers don't need earmarks to do their job. To the contrary, “The lack of earmarks is encouraging the appropriations subcommittees to ... spend more time allocating resources based on merit,” says Maya MacGuineas, director of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
Those who would return Congress to its earmarking ways deserve not the carrot but the stick.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.