President Trump on Tuesday endorsed the idea of resuscitating so-called earmarks- projects and expending items added to appropriations bills on behalf of individual lawmakers.
“Our system gives itself to not get things done, and I hear so much about earmarks — the old earmark system — how there was a great friendliness when “youve had” earmarks, ” the president said during a White House meeting on immigration attended by multiple lawmakers.
“But of course, they had other problems with earmarks. But maybe all of you should start thinking about going back to a sort of earmarks, ” he continued.
Trump’s sympathetic view comes as Republican in the House are floating the return of limited number of earmarks, though with a new situated of rules and restrictions to curtail abuse.
Earmarks would use taxpayer’s money to fund projects in lawmakers’ districts without the need for the competitive process as required for other federal spending.
The practice was banned in 2011 by House Republicans, who said at the time that it perverts lawmakers and are encouraged to to support bad legislation just so they could add earmarks and fund projects back at home.
Instances of soliciting campaign donations from those who received the earmarks or the lobbyists who advocated for them became rampant. Former California Republican Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham expended seven years in prison for taking bribes in exchange for earmarks.
But Speaker Paul Ryan is a lot less enthusiastic about earmarks. “Conversations are having a comeback, ” Ryan responded Tuesday to a question if earmarks are making a comeback. A year ago, Ryan also led the way to block any efforts to revive the practice.
Club for Growth President David McIntosh, whose group supports the campaigns of conservative nominees, oppose the comeback of earmarks, calling it “antithesis of draining the swamp” that will benefit merely “the special interest that grow government at the expense of working men and women.”
The Rules Committee is expected to hold a hearing next week on the subject. Republican Chairman Pete Sessions said the committee will try to understand in what ways the earmarks could be reformed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report .
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