When congressional Republicans backed a two-year earmark moratorium in a wave of post-election enthusiasm, apparently they didn't understand that banning earmarks would entail not having any more earmarks. Now—after failing to drag Democrats into their porkless hell—they're freaking out.
After agreeing to kill earmarks, some of the most conservative GOP lawmakers are already starting to ask themselves: What have we done?…
So some Republicans are discussing exemptions to the earmark ban, allowing transportation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and water projects….
The issue has popped up most frequently at the Conservative Opportunity Society, the caucus founded by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) in the early 1980s. During their Wednesday morning meeting last week, caucus members had a long discussion about how the Republican Party could redefine "member-directed spending," as earmarks are formally called on the Hill.
Always intrepid, conservative Republicans are shrugging off the angry ghost of Newt and getting into the dirty business of redefining the word earmark in order to keep the cash flowing:
Conservatives like Roe, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Iowa Rep. Steve King are among those trying to figure out a longer-term, sustainable way to get money back to projects in their districts.
"This isn't trying to be too cute by half of what is an earmark and what isn't," Bachmann told POLITICO on Wednesday. "But we have to address the issue of how are we going to fund transportation projects across the country?"
Here's a thought: How about we fund interstate highways from the federal Highway Trust Fund, and let state and localities do the rest?
The coming reign of the Prince of Pork over the House Appropriations Committee isn't encouraging either.