There is not enough lipstick in Washington to spruce up the pig that’s commonly referred to as earmarks. Yet Beltway apologists for better legislating through spending defend this as some sort of mystical check on White House power.
Their entirely empty argument failed to convince Senate Republicans on Tuesday to lift the 6-year-old “moratorium” on earmarks — at least for the 115th Congress. The outcome is “an encouraging sign” that the GOP is serious about cutting the national debt, which has ballooned to nearly $20 trillion, said Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who championed the earmark ban.
Indeed, billions of dollars in earmarks — often snuck into legislation — have addressed far more political goals than bona fide public priorities, landing at least one lawmaker in jail and exposing others as self-dealers on the taxpayers’ dime. And oftentimes the money-grubbing isn’t apparent until legislative bills became law.
But in reality congressional pork didn’t end with the earmark ban in 2010.
Hundreds of billions of dollars still fund all manner of partisan nonsense, whether it’s a ballet theater in America’s richest congressional district or research on grapes, The Washington Free Beacon reports. And despite the supposed moratorium, Citizens Against Government Waste tallied $5.1 billion in legislative earmarks in fiscal 2016.
Congress does not need more reason to spend money. It needs the conviction to effectually ban legislative earmarks permanently.
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